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Norwich boxer on verge of big movie break with new football hooliganism film

PUBLISHED: 10:38 02 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 03 June 2018

Earl Ling, boxer and actor, at his favourite place, Mousehold Heath overlooking the city.
Photo: Denise Bradley.

Earl Ling, boxer and actor, at his favourite place, Mousehold Heath overlooking the city. Photo: Denise Bradley.

©Archant Photographic 2009

He's more used to gracing the boxing rings of Norwich nightclubs than the underground arenas of football hooliganism firms, but Earl Ling is hoping that the change in scenery is going to give him the career break of a lifetime.

Former boxer-turned-actor Earl Ling features in Stephen Smith's Red Army Hooligans Picture: Gaz De VereFormer boxer-turned-actor Earl Ling features in Stephen Smith's Red Army Hooligans Picture: Gaz De Vere

The Norwich born boxer, who made his name as a professional cruiserweight fighter but saw that career curtailed by a series of injuries, plays a key role in Stephen Smith’s feature-length film Red Army Hooligans.

Mr Ling, who still lives in Norfolk, plays Vlad - an underground boxer who is one of the Red Army Hooligans tasked with fighting against the English hooligans desperate to get some payback before the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The former sportsman, who has also worked as a doorman and a social worker since retiring from boxing, is using the inspiration of his mother who recently passed away to push him to new heights.

He said: “She was the driving force behind my life - she was always there for me. I all but gave up at the beginning of this year but my mum was the one who said to me ‘you are good at this(acting), I think you are a natural performer.’”

Earl Ling (right) plays an underground boxer in Stephen Smith's movie about English football hooligans in the context of the 2018 World Cup. Picture: Gaz De Vere.Earl Ling (right) plays an underground boxer in Stephen Smith's movie about English football hooligans in the context of the 2018 World Cup. Picture: Gaz De Vere.

Mr Ling got the call to play the tough-nosed Vlad after the role’s intended actor had to pull out.

He said: “I was called up to play the part two weeks before filming started.”

He is also hoping that working under the wing of a director of Mr Smith’s calibre, who has also overseen crime classics like Essex Boys Law Of Survival, will give him the break he has been working towards since appearing in his first video short in 2006.

Mr Ling’s previous film credits include Evil Never Dies, Avise la fin and The Power - which was partly filmed in Norwich.

Boxing - Cruiserweight at the Norfolk Showground.
Earl Ling (Norwich)  v Zahid Kahut


Picture: James Bass
Copy: Chris Lakey
For: EDP/ EN Sport
Eastern Daily Press © 2009  (01603) 772434Boxing - Cruiserweight at the Norfolk Showground. Earl Ling (Norwich) v Zahid Kahut Picture: James Bass Copy: Chris Lakey For: EDP/ EN Sport Eastern Daily Press © 2009 (01603) 772434

His current full-time job involves working with young offenders over the age of 16. The ex-fighter was no perfect youngster himself, but he says that he has moved on from his past and is channelling it to help those in disadvantaged positions.

He said: “I have been a bad boy in the past but I think I can help them.”

He hasn’t told the young people he works with about his film. though.

He said: “I try to promote my film work on social media, but I like to keep my work and private life separate. I keep my cards quite close to my chest with the boys.”

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