Bentley boxer Craig Derbyshire wins Commonwealth title in Cayman Islands

Craig Derbyshire and team celebrate winning the Commonwealth light-flyweight title.Craig Derbyshire and team celebrate winning the Commonwealth light-flyweight title.
Craig Derbyshire and team celebrate winning the Commonwealth light-flyweight title.
“I told my kids that I was coming here and going to bring the Commonwealth title belt back home with me. It’s all I’ve thought about since the fight was officially confirmed and now I’ve done it.”

Bentley fighter Craig Derbyshire was speaking after beating Birmingham’s Matt Windle by fifth round TKO in George Town, Cayman Islands, for Windle’s Commonwealth light-flyweight belt last Friday night.

Derbyshire (9-29-4(3)) dominated the contest from the off and was constantly applying pressure to Windle (7-6-1(1)) who was struggling to avoid Derbyshire’s right-hand jab and the hook finding its target too.

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Derbyshire did not have it all his own way during the second round as Windle realised he needed to pressure the Doncaster man into mistakes and get his own shots away. But he kept plugging and had his own moments of joy in a very close but entertaining round.

The third and fourth rounds followed a similar vein as Windle began to realise that the fight was slipping away from him. No matter what he tried, Derbyshire had the answer and would continue to press the Birmingham man when opportunity allowed.

The fifth round was a cagey affair until the last 30 seconds or so when Derbyshire caught Windle with a right hook and proceeded to jump on his opponent who somehow managed to cling on to hear the bell, as both fighters ended up in a heap on the floor.

While fans were wondering what Windle could do to turn the tide, his team had seen enough and pulled their man out to save him from any more punishment.

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Derbyshire’s manager Carl Greaves said: “You can keep your superstars. This is the real boxing of 2023. It’s crazy to think that it took Craig ten fights to win his first contest in the pro ranks. I’ve been saying it for years, he’s a far better fighter than his professional record would suggest.

"It’s like something from a Hollywood film. He’s a ‘Real Life Rocky’ and an inspiration to any young fighter coming through the ranks.

“Craig works so hard and deserves all the success and plaudits that come his way from tonight’s win,” he added.

“But his coach Niall Almond deserves a lot of credit for the work he’s done with Craig. Doing what he’s done with a fighter who had a zero amateur experience and no fights in the home corner is just unbelievable.”

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Coach Niall Almond said: “I couldn’t be prouder of Craig as I am tonight. As a team we’ve won Central Area titles at two weights, the English Super-Flyweight title twice, and there was the very harsh draw for the British Flyweight and a close Commonwealth Flyweight title loss earlier this year in Malta.

“I’ve lost count of the number of fights that haven’t gone his way but on nights like this it doesn’t really matter. He’s written his name in the history books and that’s why we do what we love this sometimes cruel sport.”

Derbyshire said: “I’d like to dedicate this win to my wife Gemma and my kids, my coach Niall Almond, my manager Carl Greaves, all my sponsors and all my family and friends. I couldn’t have done any of this without their help and support.

“I’d like to thank Matt (Windle) for playing his part in a great fight. We’ve both come over here and put everything on the line and thank you to Dennis Hobson for putting on this great show.

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"It’s been a tough road at times but winning titles like tonight makes it all worthwhile. Thank you to everybody who stayed up watch the fight in the early hours and I’m really sorry if I’ve missed anybody out.”

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