Boxing: Tickhill’s Richard Thomas living the dream thanks to surprise title glory

Richard Thomas celebrates his Central Area title triumph
Richard Thomas celebrates his Central Area title triumph

The Central Area title was the end game for Richard Thomas but the ultimate goal has been achieved surprisingly early in his career.

The Tickhill fighter pulled off the upset on Saturday night to stop Doncaster rival Daniel Slaney in the seventh round of their Central Area super middleweight title bout at The Dome.

It was a remarkable achievement given it was only the sixth fight of the 31-year-old’s professional career.

Winning the crown was something Thomas expected to come much further down the line.

And now he has done it, he admits he never considered what would follow.

“It was my dream to win a Central Area title so now I’ve done that I haven’t got a clue what to do next,” Thomas told the Free Press.

“People were straight away talking about an English title shot and obviously I’d fancy that.

“And I’ve already been called out by a few lads so I don’t think I’ll be short of opponents.

“My manager Joe Elfidh said they’ll be queuing up to fight me and it looks that way.

“It’s not really sunk in what I’ve done. I knew I was capable of beating him but, like I said, it was my dream to get to this point.”

Harworth’s Slaney was certainly the pre-fight favourite and was expected to put on a boxing show to outclass his less experienced opponent.

But Thomas tore up the script, firing off heavy handed shots from the first bell which unsettled Slaney.

He put Slaney through the ropes with a stiff short right in the sixth round and pounced after a standing eight count to unleash a barrage of shots which brought another count and saw the fight waved off.

Thomas said: “People were all talking about Danny and expecting him to win, which I could understand.

“He’s a good boxer with a lot of skill but I was always confident that I’d be able to take the fight to him.

“The plan was to go after him from the start and it really worked.

“He started to get back into it in rounds three or four but I got back on top and I could see he was going.”

Thomas made his pro debut in 2013 at the age of 28 but has only boxed consistently since March last year.

A former Doncaster Plant Works amateur, he said his inspiration to join the professional ranks came from watching so many gym mates succeed after doing the same thing.

“So many kids that came through the door I’d worked with went on to turn professional,” said Thomas, who trains under Mike White at the Fighting Fit gym in Dinnington.

“From Jamie McDonnell all the way down to Reece Mould who’s just starting out. I can remember Maxi Hughes’ mum first bringing him into the gym.

“I thought it was time for me to give it a go.

“Things worked out quite well because I used to work away a lot when I was younger so I couldn’t get in the gym regularly.

“But I got a job back here so I could commit.

“I always liked boxing but I was a decent footballer when I was younger. I was with Leeds and Lincoln, and Scunthorpe released me when I was 17.

“My brother was into boxing and suggested I go down to the Plant.

“I only had three fights, winning one. Then it was suggested to me I try unlicensed fights and I got into that.

“I always wanted to turn pro at some point.”

Saturday night saw Thomas tick more than one item off his list of boxing aspirations.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to fight at The Dome.

“When I was younger I used to go to John Rushton’s shows and watch the likes of Stefy Bull and Jason Rushton.

“To go there, with plenty of support, and win a title is a dream come true.”