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Chatting with Kyle McNeil

Welcome to this exclusive interview with Canadian Boxing Professional, Kyle 'Real Deal' McNeil, brought to you by SPAR Apparel. With an impressive record and a dedication to the sport, Kyle has made a name for himself in the world of boxing, especially in the Halifax area. In this interview, we'll discuss his introduction to boxing, memorable moments, training routine, mental preparation, and plans for the future. Join us as we delve into the life and career of this talented athlete.

SPAR: “How did you first get introduced to boxing, and what inspired you to pursue it professionally?”

Kyle: “I have been training for boxing since age 9. Initially, I began boxing around age 10 when I walked into Twin Cities Boxing in downtown Dartmouth run by Bobby Tapper. I had my first amateur fight at 92lbs and 11 yrs of age and went on to get 10 stoppages back to back and go on a win streak for some time. I began fighting older and bigger kids in higher weight classes, as I was beating all the kids in my division at the time (100-110lbs). I would fluctuate up and down in order to get more fights. I think that boxing and training at a young age kept me out of trouble and helped get me through the years of my youth. I did my fair share of grade school scrapping out of the ring, although all around I was a good kid.

Eventually I found my way through to high school. I ended up missing much of my childhood as I was working fulltime and boxing my way through high school. From there, I attended University for Commerce, all while continuing my training. I began my pro career just before I started at Saint Mary’s University. I was 18 in university, turning 19, and I made my debut in August of 2011 winning by TKO in the 4th round against a game and rangy 6ft MMA veteran at +130lbs – it was a lot of fun.

I then went on to become 5-0 as a featherweight and was the #1 top featherweight in Canada for a few years running before I moved up to 135lbs and took the lightweight maritime title. Over the last 10+ years of my professional career I've also been building my business as a personal trainer full time working with hundreds of youth athletes and dozens of youth sports teams. My business & gym is Real Deal Fitness. On the side, I am a stuntman and actor in film, and have done so since 2012. I have starred in several Tom Selleck TV feature films, Point Blank, Thin Ice, Seahorse & Jesse Stone: Stone Cold; to name a few. I have also been in about a half a dozen tv shows as both an actor and stunt actor. Mr. D, Stephen Kings The Mist Season 1, Haven, Pure season 1 & 2, Diggstown, Locke & Key & a few others.”

SPAR: “Can you share a memorable moment or a significant turning point in your boxing career so far?”

Kyle: “I would say a memorable moment would be winning the maritime lightweight title. Another highlight would be coming out of covid and starting my new company, Real Deal Promotions, and promoting/headlining my first boxing event in July of 2022 - Fists of Fury at the Forum. I did my first 8 round fight, we had a 5-fight exciting show and a wholesome family friendly crowd where lots of local businesses attended. We had Eric 'Butterbean' Esch down to enjoy the show and meet the fans. It was a great event with a good turnout at the main forum. It was a childhood dream of mine, and one I had planned since I was a teenager.”

SPAR: “Tell us about your training routine and the coaching staff who have helped shape your career. What makes your training regimen unique?”

Kyle: “Starting from a young age I began my amateur career with Robert Tapper at Twin Cities Boxing Club. I was then self-managed around 2014-2016, training myself for a few years and taking a couple fights. From there I joined up with Jim Maloney & Bridget Stevens (my current coach) as they had bought out my old coach Bobby & the gym, which for 7+ years has been called Tribal Boxing Club. We have a strong team of several different professional fighters across multiple weight classes, and an array of amateur boxers of various skill levels. It really is one of the best gyms in Halifax Regional Municipality.”

SPAR: “How do you mentally prepare yourself for a big fight, and what strategies do you use to stay focused under pressure?”

Kyle: “I credit my lifestyle for preparing me for the boxing life. My lifestyle is unique as for the last few years I have lived offgrid in a 200 year old homestead in Clam Harbour on a 100-acre piece of land going back to the water nestled miles in the woods. My fiancé and I have been renovating it for the last 5+ years, making it livable. It's a beautiful 3-bedroom, 2 story Victorian homestead, and has been in her family over several generations. We also ran a farm for a year or two but have since settled in and no longer have chickens or hogs, just gardens.

I have always been a huge advocate of fitness & training, running with weighted ruck sacks at a young age, wearing steel toe boots up to 8-12+ miles daily to and from school/boxing. I was accustomed at the time to running long mileage daily, as it used to be my way to travel to and from gyms and school. Now as an adult, my training is more centered around being at Tribal Boxing Club and spending time running, swimming, chopping wood & trees on our land. I’m a big believer in HIIT and calisthenics & Olympic lifting; to list a few of my preferred training modalities.

For me I grew up in the gyms and this sport, so with my somewhat extensive amateur background & 18 professional fights; I'm accustomed to the pressures of fight camp and the build up to fight day."

SPAR: “What would you say has been the most challenging opponent or fight you have faced, and how did you overcome that challenge?”

Kyle: “I would say Tyson Cave in 2019 was one of my toughest fights to date in the boxing ring. We ran it for the first 12 round professional fight in the last 15 years in Halifax (at the time), competing for the Canadian National Boxing Authority Title pre-covid. I hadn't been a featherweight in many years, and was on a bit of a lay off (although very fit at 160+lbs). I signed at 126lbs and made 125lbs in just under 3 months with many hours of daily hard work and sacrifice. No excuses, but I definitely felt it on fight night. I won many of the early exchanges and was busy for 5-6 rounds. I got one knockdown in the middle rounds, and then we then had a few head collisions with bits of wrestling matches at points; which closed my left eye. From round 6 onwards I was fighting with limited eyesight and would win a round, then lose a round respectively, while making a good account of myself.

Tyson scored a nicely timed counter and knockdown in round 9. I bounced up at the count of 2 and then took a neutral corner before returning, going straight ahead. I came out hot in round 10, chasing Tyson and flurrying when I would catch him on the ropes. I was exhausted at this point but believe I did enough to maybe edge the round. From there I was planning to just get on my bicycle and move around in round 11, take the round and float, and then go hard in the last round. While mid exchange on the ropes, my corner (against my knowledge and desire) threw the towel while I was mid exchange. I was upset at the time and let my corner hear it, but cooler heads prevailed and my eye was certainly worsening. So now I understand the decision, and taking nothing from Tyson Cave it was a closely contested match and one for the books. He fought a good fight and this is boxing. This fight definitely has an unclosed chapter in my career, one that I plan to rectify in the future with a big rematch at a higher weight division once and for all for Halifax in due time.”

SPAR: “Can you describe the support system that has been crucial to your success in and out of the ring?”

Kyle: “In terms of success in and out of the ring I have been diligent with my social media updates, regular training posts and sharing what I do aside from my boxing as a personal trainer at my gym and business (Real Deal Fitness). The costant work helps in keeping myself both active and involved with local communities. I also engage in regular charity events where possible, such as Easter Seals raffle events over the years held in Halifax, along with other local fundraisers. I stay active and involved training youth sports teams from across Halifax Regional Municipality, along with men/women of all ages at my gym. So ultimately, I've been blessed to have a strong following on both Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn, all of which I stay pretty up to date with. My Facebook has 17 thousand or so followers, my business page Real Deal Fitness has around the same. My Instagram business page has around 90 thousand followers, and my personal Instagram has around 40 thousand followers.”

SPAR: “What do you consider your greatest strength as a fighter, and how do you continually work to improve it?”

Kyle: “I would say my greatest attributes are my heart and my conditioning. I don't quit. I have been tired, hurt, bleeding, in deep water and all throughout there is no quit in me. I'm the same in all that I do. I'm an all or nothing kind of guy, although I've been working diligently to become a little better balanced over the years in many areas of my life. I truly believe health is wealth and happiness in oneself is everything."

SPAR: “Who are some of your boxing idols, and how have they influenced your fighting style or career aspirations?”

Kyle: “I have studied and watched so many great Boxers over the years, it's really hard to say. I’ve always been a big fan of Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson, and of course Muhammad Ali. I always admired the work capacity and dedication of these fighters, along with guys like Rocky Marciano. I’m also a big fan of Arturo Gatti & Boom Boom Mancini in his heyday. I grew up loving martial arts as well and dabbled years ago in the training & study of Muy Thai, along with BJJ, but my heart was always in the ring so I never strayed far."

SPAR: “What advice would you give to young aspiring boxers looking to follow in your footsteps and make a name for themselves in the sport?”

Kyle: “Advice I would give to any athlete and/or fighter would be to steer your own ship. If it doesn't feel right in your heart, don't do it. Don't make decisions in life and/or your sport and profession based on the predication of others. You are only as strong as your team, but in the ring you’re all alone, so it is in essence a very lonely sport. So buckle up, train hard, train often, and go to work."

SPAR: “As you continue to grow in your career, how do you envision your legacy in the boxing community, and what impact do you hope to leave on future generations of fighters?”

Kyle: “I intend on continuing to put on boxing events in Halifax under Real Deal Promotions. We had 3 successful events so far, with our last two events selling out around 1200+ people at the World Trade and Convention Centre. I also plan on staying active with fighting to climb the ranks in a couple divisions and secure a couple of Canadian titles for myself along the way. I am really looking forward to the June 10th upcoming event at the Halifax Forum headlined by Ryan Rozicki, and I will be the co-main event. A collaboration of sorts where there is only a handful of promoters in Canada. I look to do things differently and bring a different light to this beautiful savage sport.

I believe you can't leave my name out when discussing the past 15+ years of boxing in Halifax. I have worked hard in and out of the ring to help further the sport of boxing in Halifax and the Maritimes as a fighter, and now as a promoter and businessman. Whatever is said, one can only hope it's said tastefully and in good spirits.”

We hope you enjoyed this insightful interview with Kyle McNeil, and we thank him for sharing his experiences and thoughts with us. Don't miss the opportunity to watch Kyle in action as the co-main event for the upcoming Ryan Rozicki fight in Halifax on June 10th at the Forum. This event is hosted by Three Lions Promotions and proudly sponsored by SPAR Apparel. As Kyle continues to make an impact in the boxing community, we look forward to witnessing his growth and achievements in the years to come.

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