Islington boxing prodigies - one now managed by legendary Frank Warren - star in new film

George Kean & Marlon Mellish, with east end film director Alison Poltock

George Kean & Marlon Mellish, with east end film director Alison Poltock - Credit: Archant

A pair of boxing prodigies, one of whom is managed by the legendary Frank Warren, are the stars of a documentary which premiered at a prestigious film festival.

The coming-of-age story sees Islington’s Marlon Mellish and George Kean, two innately-talented friends, fighting their way through the ranks of the boxing world.

Both had set their hearts on becoming professionals but feared becoming journeymen – boxers with little expectation of winning fights are paid to take a beating in the ring.

But the pair found success, representing their country in the sport and their tale was told in this new film shown for the first time at the East London Film Festival last Thursday.

Mr Kean said: “This film has a lot of ups and downs – it captures the feeling of what boxing is all about and you see the emotions of people who had come to watch me.”

“I want to bring everyone along with me.


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“If I can help one person achieve something positive, I feel like I’ve done something positive myself.

“I’m just a boy from Islington and I’m going to be myself, I’m not going to be flashy or arrogant.”

The film follows the two pugilists as they grow up boxing at the Times ABC club, Copenhagen Street, King’s Cross, where Mr Kean’s dad is head coach.

In the documentary they share their experiences, wincing at the blows the other takes in the ring and contributing to each others jubilation as they scale the heights of UK boxing.

But to the disappointment of many, at a point where Mr Mellish was ranked fifth in England for his weight, he hung up his gloves.

He said that he lost the motivation though he constantly gets calls to return to the sport.

“I can understand people had high hopes for me,” he said. “But you may have just one life and you’ve got to do what you want to do.”

But Sebastian Duffy, director and producer of the film who also grew up in Islington, said: “I think Marlon fulfilled his dream.”

Mr Mellish now coaches boxing and is a personal trainer at Fitness First.

Meanwhile, Mr Kean is still fighting and at the premiere it was announced he had not only turned professional, but would be managed by Mr Warren, who has previously managed stars like Prince Naseem Hamed and Ricky Hatton.

He has returned to training with his dad at the Times ABC and has since won all of his bouts. “I’m being trained where I belong,” he said. “I’m back home.”

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