Meet the former Armed Forces champion and Tyson Fury referee now overseeing Commonwealth Games boxing
Lieutenant Commander Micky Norford joined the Royal Navy in 1975 and was in the service for 37 years as a sailor, radar operator, physical training instructor, naval officer and the UK Armed Forces boxing champion.
Now a Ministry of Defence civil servant, he has been at this year’s Commonwealth Games as a technical delegate, overseeing the smooth running of the boxing event.
I started boxing soon after I joined the Royal Navy in 1979 and have remained involved ever since. Some people might think boxing is an aggressive sport but nothing could be further from the truth. You have to be disciplined, listen to what the coaches are saying, apply different tactics and techniques when you are competing. Your Royal Navy training sets you up to take on the challenges of leading the technical team for the boxing event in Birmingham. You have to be resilient, you have to be able to push your body into areas you wouldn’t usually be pushed into. It sets you up for high-level sport.
Within eighteen months of stepping between the ropes I was Navy champion. We were one of the best boxing teams in the country. You didn’t just walk into the team you had to work extremely hard. I was lucky that I was light and tall for my weight. I used my long arms and long reach to the best effect which helped me to become the UK Armed Forces champion, I just seemed to be a natural boxer.
Once I transferred to become physical training instructor (PTI) in the Navy, I then moved into coaching and officiating; a journey that has taken me through the top ranks of the amateur sport refereeing top talents like Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders as amateur boxers. In Birmingham as a technical delegate at the Commonwealth Games I am responsible for all technical aspects of boxing at the games and also to lead the technical officials. As the only technical delegate in England. I have been working with the Local Organising Committee since January 2022.
The Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces have been incredibly supportive of those able to work in elite level sport — not just athletes but also officials. I’ve been given time to judge Olympic qualifiers, International Championships — all because they recognised what additional skills attending these events brings to the service. When high performing athletes come back to their unit they are a role model to other their unit to aspire to, not just as athletes but as people as well.