I was a world champion boxer and Olympics star… now I'm living humble life back home as local taxi driver for pensioners | The Sun

JOHN LOWEY has swapped world title belts for seatbelts in his new life as a taxi driver.

The Northern Irishman battled back from a major setback and was crowned boxing’s IBO super-bantamweight world champion in 1995.

But now the humble 57-year-old is back home just outside Belfast, enjoying life in the slow lane behind the wheel ferrying pensioners around. 

A private, family man, Lowey balances his shifts as a cabbie during the morning rush hour and before lunch alongside time with his elderly parents, four grown-up children and grandkids. 

He told SunSport: “I taxi for a private taxi firm. It’s my own private car. When I came back from the States I had a Mercedes C-Class, an E-Class and a BMW now I’ve got a Skoda Octavia.

“I don’t work in my hometown Dundonald. If Joe Bloggs calls and asks for a lift, I’ll do it but I don’t want that to be involved with my work. I’ll drop people off. I like to help people. 


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“The clientele who you meet in the day is different from the clientele at night. My morning customers are pensioners, people going to work or school. 

“I enjoy getting up at 5am going for my runs, going to the gym at maybe 11am and if something else pops up in the afternoon I’m free, such as looking after the grandkids. 

“My mum and dad will be married for 60 years next month – I see them Tuesday and Friday afternoons, that’s the parents' day, set in stone and doesn’t change for anyone. It’s through them that I’ve had a blessed life.”

Lowey, who became a dad at 22, also treated himself to a paddleboard last year and regularly takes himself off for “mature” holidays having missed out on boys’ trips away due to his sporting career. 

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Recent trips have included visiting Denmark, Sweden, France, Portugal, Finland, Malta, Austria, Greece, Spain, and Poland as well as a hike up Ben Nevis – with Germany and Slovenia both on the list for September. 

The 1988 Olympian will not be concerned about his upcoming travels clashing with some of the big boxing fights coming up, with the sport now very much in his rear-view mirror. 

Lowey trained with Frank Bruno and came to the end of the road in 2001 with a 28(17)-4 record.

But his career took plenty of dramatic turns and gear shifts before that final defeat to Emmanuel Lucero.

From fighting for Ireland at the Seoul Games to being drawn against the reigning world champion at both the World and European Championships.

From three years out of the sport after a failed brain scan with his career seemingly over to a call from Muhammad Ali’s son-in-law that saw it resurrected in America and his world title shot, beating Juan Camero in Chicago.

Lowey went on to lose to Kennedy McKinney with the WBU belt on the line, his first pro defeat, and laughed in the face of a hostile Mexican crowd baying for his blood against Erik Morales where a broken right hand eventually forced him to retire hurt after the seventh round.

He added: “I don’t follow the boxing, I never did even when I was boxing – I wasn’t a boxing fan. I was so dedicated to myself and too busy training.

“[In 1995], the IBO was only just starting to get recognised. There was no fanfare, no TV cameras when I got back. 

“If you were involved in boxing, you knew me. Outside of boxing, no one knew who I was with no social media, I never looked for publicity.

“I didn’t get to the Olympics opening ceremony because I had the boxing the next day. All the other Irish guys got beat – I was the first to box and the last to box on the team.

“You should be ready but yes I was unlucky with my first opponents in draws. When you face the world champion, you can be one or two rounds down already.”

Lowey, whose daughter Alison played football for Northern Ireland, still has an inner drive – but now it is about picking people up rather than knocking them down. 

He continued: “Boxing was a chapter in my book. I’m on another page now, I’ve moved on. I don’t miss boxing. While I did it, I enjoyed it. That was part of my life but it’s not part of my life now. 

“I went back to college and did my exams after boxing because I left school aged 15 with no exams. I’ve got that drive to go for something.

“I’ll do a couple of hours of work on a Saturday then go and watch the grandsons play football. I’m 57 now. I don’t need to work but I enjoy getting out there and meeting people.

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“When I see my reflection in the mirror in the morning, I know it’s a good day. I’ll enjoy it because I’m not guaranteed tomorrow. My glasses are always half full, there is always someone worse off. I always try to be positive. 

“Money is not my objective, happiness and health and doing nice to people is what I’m here for.”

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