Boxing: Binman who never refuses a good scrap

Munroe is tipped to repeat high-visibility feats of Haye and be crowned Britain's fourth world champion

Rendall Munroe is not a household name. Except in his home town of Leicester, where hundreds of households are familiar with the jaunty little figure in the high-vis jacket whose day job is emptying their dustbins while reigning as the super-bantamweight champion of Europe, one of the most successful, yet unacclaimed, fighters in the land.

In Nuremberg last weekend it was all glitter and glamour, with Hayemania now sweeping the nation after our David's dancing demolition of the moribund mammoth who masqueraded as Goliath, opening an exciting new chapter in boxing's own Book of Revelation. But on Friday when Munro makes the fifth defence of his title at a leisure centre in Nottingham, it will be a classic reminder of how the other half fights.

Yet according to his promoter, Frank Maloney, boxing's binman is just two bouts away from joining the Hayemaker, Amir Khan and Carl Froch as a British world champion. Maloney has asked for the contest with the classy Italian Simone Maludrottu to be made an eliminator for the World Boxing Council title held by Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka. "He's one of the old-school fighters, a bit of a throwback," says Maloney of a blue-collar scrapper who has been voted European boxer of the year. "He loves the game and doing a manual job outside boxing helps him. He also revels in all the attention he gets locally but he doesn't let it affect him. He's a joy to work with."

Munro has been on the bins for four years. "It works for me," he says. "It pays the bills and allows me to put my boxing money in the bank". Before that he was a window-maker, worked in a shoe shop selling Doc Martens and became a welder after a year's course. He was made redundant three times. "So when they said to me, 'How about being a bin man?' I thought, 'Yeah, why not? I can do that'. I ain't one for sitting around doing nothing.

"I did quite well at school and left with all my GCSEs. But when school finished, I was gone, that was enough learning for me. What I do now fits in with my boxing." Collecting rubbish runs in the family. His Jamaican-born dad is a roadsweeper. "He always said to me as a kid, 'You're not going out to hang out on the streets. Do something constructive'. And here I am now, cleaning up the town just like him!"

Munroe, 29, had 40 bouts as an amateur before turning pro five years ago, and has lost only once in 20 fights. "For me, boxing has always been about enjoyment. Whatever the result, even as an amateur I've always been back in the gym the next day having a laugh. But here I am, No 1 in Britain, Commonwealth and Europe.

"A lot of people can't make out why I'm still so happy-go-lucky about it. It hasn't gone to my head. I am still Rendall and I always will be. I'll always stop and have a chat.

"Everyone knows me on the bin round, of course. After a fight, I'm there on my next shift and they'll stop me and say well done. They'll leave cakes out, all sorts. I don't think I'll ever change. Sometimes I can be sitting down having a cup of tea and people come in and point me out but really I am just like them, that's the way I like to come across, just an ordinary guy. I don't go around thinking, 'I'm on TV, I am a boxer, I'm this and that'. Rendall ain't no different from anyone else.

"My boxing money is the cream on the cake. I've never asked how much I would get for a fight and I always live within my means. I have to fend for two kids and sometimes a bit of the boxing money helps out.

"I would say I am comfortable. Not in the David Haye or Amir Khan class, of course, but everyone has a different level. I never disrespect anyone but sometimes I think: 'Could Haye or Khan do what I do?' I am training every day and doing a daytime job. But I don't get envious when I see the sort of money the big boys earn. I am happy. It's like what they say, more money brings more stress."

A useful county footballer in his youth, he has a son of eight who is at Leicester City's academy and another of two. His only loss was for the British title. "But I thought I won so I still went out to celebrate – that's the sort of guy I am. After the fight I was laughing, even though my girlfriend was crying. That's life, isn't it? Enjoy it."

The southpaw is a good defensive boxer, rarely getting hit. "That's why I still look 21," he laughs. "I've never been one of these boxers who boasts or bad-mouths people, saying I'm going to do this or that. If you get knocked out, who looks the idiot then?

"People kept saying to me I should build an image for myself. Well, I think I've got one. I'm a binman and my cornermen all come into the ring with high-vis jackets sponsored by the council. Fans come up to me and ask where they can get the jackets – I tell them they're down the market for a quid. So when I get into the ring and look around, I can't believe how many high-vis there are in the crowd. Hundreds of them and I think, 'Cor, they're all for me'. When I finish in this game, I'd love everyone to be saying, 'Hey, remember that Rendall? He was the binman boxer'."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin