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Boxing, football, half marathons – it’s a sporting life for the Martins from Glenrothes

Reo Martin, 13, is supported in his ambition to become a world champion boxer by football his footballer dad John and mum Leanne.
Cheryl Peebles
Reo Martin in his boxing gloves and kit with dad John, mum Leanne and dog Buddy.
Reo Martin, 13, with dad John, mum Leanne and their Maltese Buddy. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson.

Sport, training and healthy living are centre-forward of family life in the Martin household.

With son Reo, 13, a rising star in boxing, dad John a football manager and mum Leanne a health and fitness enthusiast, the week is full of constant activity.

Their lives revolve around Reo’s strict training schedule and competitions as he bids to become a champion in the ring.

When he’s not at the ringside of his son’s bouts around the country, former professional footballer John, 38, is leading from the sidelines with Glenrothes Football Club.

And Leanne is also a regular at Reo’s club, attending the ladies’ fitness sessions of Glenrothes Boxing Club.

So what’s life like for a sporting family like the Martins, from Glenrothes, as they support their son in his ambition to become a top boxer?

Reo Martin in boxing pose with trophies behind him.
Reo, 13, has an impressive haul of trophies and medals. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson.

Leanne, 35, says: “There are no long lies! Leo’s always doing something.”

Reo, an S2 pupil at Glenrothes High School, started boxing classes when he was five years old and has started competing in the last couple of years.

He was recently named Glenrothes Boxing Club’s best boxer of the season, earning the Connor Law Memorial Belt for his dedication and determination.

Every day starts with a run for Reo. He’ll do shorter distances during the week when he has school and 10 to 15 kilometres at the weekend.

After school he’s at the club training with his coaches for up to two hours each day.

If he has a fight coming up, there will also be sparring on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays.

John has football training every other evening and matches on Saturdays.

He started his playing career with Raith Rovers before moving to East Fife in 2005. He is now co-manager of Glenrothes Football Club and was instrumental in setting up its youth teams.

John Martin on the pitch celebrating a goal for Raith Rovers
John celebrating after scoring a goal for Raith Rovers in 2004. Image: DC Thomson.

As well as boxing fitness Leanne recently started running, inspired by Reo, and completed two half marathons this year.

As if that wasn’t enough, she and John also follow a personal trainer fitness programme.

Leanne said: “Every [week] night there is sport then on Saturdays John’s out from 11am to 6.30pm at football.

“Reo is usually off on a Saturday but if he’s got fights coming up he’ll be sparring at the weekends too.

“It will go through stages where it’s just the training and they don’t have many fights but then all of a sudden it can be next week we’re in Newcastle then we’ve got something else.”

Weight watching

As well as training hard, boxers have to keep a close eye on their diet to ensure they fuelling their demanding exercise regime but remain within the weight parameters of their class.

Reo weighs himself daily and Leanne’s healthy eating know-how makes her a great role model, advisor and companion.

She said: “I’m quite good with the nutrition side because I like to eat healthily. John’s diet needs a little bit of work!

“How Reo eats is kind of how I eat. I do have to tell him at school ‘you have to make sure you eat this or that’.

Reo is at Glenrothes Boxing Club at least five days a week but sometimes seven. Image: Google Maps.

“Sometimes his friends will be getting big bags of chips at lunchtime and he can’t really do that. He’ll send me pictures saying ‘is this ok?’

“But as he gets older he knows what he likes and what works.”

An added factor is balancing the dietary needs of a growing teenager.

But everyone needs the occasional treat.

Leanne said: “On a Saturday he will go to the football with his friends and have a steak pie.”

John said: “He does have his treats as well, he is still a kid.”

At the ringside

Competitions take Reo around the country, often to Newcastle. Next week he’s off to Cyprus for a knock-out tournament.

Sometimes, John, a senior project manager with an electrical company, and hairdresser Leanne will travel with him.

When we spoke, John was hoping to be able to join Leo in Cyprus. He said: “I really don’t want to miss this one.”

But it’s not always easy to watch your son in the boxing ring, as he admits.

It’s tough seeing your son get his head punched.”


“I’m just about in the ring with him sometimes!

“It can be hard. It’s an achievement when he puts his hands up and he’s won. His face when he wins, it’s really good to see.

“But it’s tough seeing your son get his head punched.

“The punches he gets are going to be harder as he gets older.”

Leanne said: “It’s harder now watching him fight. He’s really stretched in the last year and when you see his opponents come in they are like men.”

Reo has had a couple of black eyes and says: “After a fight in England last year I looked in the mirror and had a ball on my cheek!”

He’s also had his nose cauterised a couple of times.

John said: “The scary thing is, he actually enjoys it; if he gets a black eye he thinks it’s cool!”

Reo’s family are behind his ambition to become a world champion. Image: Kenny Smith/DC Thomson.

He and Leanne are immensely proud of their son, and Leo thrives in his family’s shared enjoyment of health and fitness.

For Reo the sky is the limit, as he aspires to emulate his heroes including Ricky Hatton, Josh Taylor and Mike Tyson. He says: “I want to go as big as I can.”

“World champion, he says”, adds John. “We want him to go as far as he can go and hopefully be a champ.”

On the rare days the family do have to relax, it’s about spending quality time with their second child – two-year-old Maltese Buddy.

Leanne says: “We’ll go out with the dog. We love going out for walks.

“We’ll just chill out really if we do get a Sunday to do nothing.”

“It’s a good life,” says John. “We enjoy it and it makes us happy.”