When Celebrity Boxing 68 barrels into Showboat 7 p.m., June 8, it brings with it the usual ilk of pseudo-celebs like reality stars and DJs.
This time around, though, there will be a tie-in to the British Royal Family.
Thomas Markle Jr., half-brother to Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, will get into the ring to fight Henry “Nacho” Laun of TV’s “The Wahlburgers.”
Markle, who is currently and quite famously estranged from his half-sibling, does not have any boxing experience. But he left his home in Oregon to do some training outside of Philadelphia with Celebrity Boxing promoter and former boxer Damon Feldman, aka the “Jewish Rocky.”
“He’s a natural,” says Feldman of Markle’s boxing skills. “We’re pretty impressed with his punching power. He’s better than we thought.”
Training has been difficult for Markle, who does admit to having “some experience” with knocking people out, partly due to a persistent cold and partly due to a “transitional period” presently happening in his life.
“I’m on the road of hard knocks,” Markle says. “(With) the media and Meghan Markle … I guess it’s due to what I’ve dealt with and have to deal with now. It’s just sort of a difficult period. It’s … going from a private life to having your life spotlighted in the media. It’s thrown quite a few curves. It’s an adjustment period.”
He doesn’t exactly seem to shy away from any kind of affiliation with his royal in-laws, however. For the boxing match, Markle even dubbed himself the nickname “The Duke,” an obvious nod to his brother-in-law Prince Harry. He said the nickname “naturally fell into place and sort of stuck.”
“It’s my little niche. It rings a bell. I don’t think that I’m a Duke. (But) ‘The Duke’ kind of sticks.”
Markle has no intention of jetting over to England while on the East Coast to pop in on his sister, brother-in-law and new nephew Archie.
“That ball is not in my court — that has to come from Meghan herself. She’s the one who has to break the silence and acknowledge her family … I mean, she would have to reach out to her family here in America,” says Markle, who claims that neither he, nor his father Thomas Markle Sr. or sister Samantha Markle, can pinpoint exactly what caused the rift between Meghan and them.
This Celebrity Boxing match, though, is something that Markle hopes will help break the ice with his sister and potentially reunite them, as well as provide him a chance to meet little Archie.
“A good point to this is … maybe the Celebrity Boxing match will open her eyes and let her know that we are still here,” Markle wishes. “If I dedicate the fight to her and baby Archie, maybe he can have a role model (in me) to look up to for the rest of this life.”