Boxing clever

There will always be VIPs who require security specialists like Glenn Bartlett to have their backs, but on some occasions that protection becomes personal, as Julie Burniston finds out…

Glenn Bartlett has become something of a celebrity in his own Wynyard household.

Daughters Lilley, 11, Laila, seven and five-year-old Isla – themselves keen kickboxers are frequently glued to the Sky Sports BOXXER channel where their dad appears as personal security for heavyweight boxer and long-time friend, Steven ‘USSR’ Robinson.

“They love it,” laughs Glenn, MD of Middlesbrough-based Close Protection Security.

“Even though being on the road with Steven means I miss a lot of family time, I can’t deny that I love this particular job. It’s another arm of the services offered by Close Protection Security.”

Robinson is a 6ft 7in, 18-stone Geordie man-mountain and future World Championship contender who has sparred with Anthony Joshua and is really making a name for himself in the boxing world, so it’s no surprise that the sight of their father protecting him gives Glenn brownie points with his kids.

While Glenn shadows Steven, other members of the Close Protection Security team look after the security driving needs of other boxers including Roy Jones Jr and Chris Eubank Jr, plus Ben Shalom, CEO of BOXXER.

Exciting stuff, yet being ringside with Steven is very special for Glenn, given their humble backgrounds and shared history.

“Steven and I worked together in security five years ago, earning just £7.50 an hour on television and film sets,” recalls Glenn. “We became and remained great mates, so to see where he is now, well, I’m buzzing for him.”

For Steven, there was only one person he would trust with his security.

“I chose Glenn to be part of my team because ultimately I trust him with my life,” he says. “He has a great relationship with my family and I know he has my best interests at heart. In any sport, it’s vital that you surround yourself with honest people.

“Glenn collects me from my house, we then go to the hotel or wherever we are required and the whole logistics side of things is sorted between him and my manager, Mark Clauzel – all I have to worry about is fighting.

“Glenn is very professional in what he does and that goes back to the days when we worked together. His attention to detail was second to none and his achievements in his business speak for themselves.

“Glenn is my extra eyes and ears when I’m busy working at a press conference or weigh-in. It’s always good to know that your personal security is there watching your back.”

Glenn sees Close Protection Security looking after Steven until the end of the boxer’s career, but that’s not to say he is resting on his laurels when it comes to the other aspects of his business.

The company recently formed a partnership with Sky Sports, providing security for fighters, promoters and anybody else associated with BOXXER while they are in the North-East.

When you add to that new contracts with McDonald’s and the Cupral Group plus ongoing contracts with the Port of Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough FC, Scott Bros and the Map Group, it’s clear that Close Protection Security continues to expand apace, with more than 90 local people employed so far and an experienced management team taking care of business in Glenn’s absence.

While he often can’t believe how far Close Protection Security has come in just a few short years, Glenn shows no sign of slowing down, but he says he works so hard for all the right reasons.

“I’m dedicated to looking after my girls, my family and my staff,” he says. “Everything I do, I do for them.”

To find more about Close Protection Security, visit