Craig Derbyshire makes dream come true by claiming English title

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for Craig Derbyshire and he grabbed it with both hands.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 11:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 1:44 pm
Craig Derbyshire celebrates with manager Carl Greaves (left) and trainer Niall Almond (right)

The Bentley fighter is the new English super flyweight champion after a sensational upset victory in Northampton last weekend.

Derbyshire carried a record of 27 defeats from 36 fights into the contest at The Deco Theatre having spent all of his career in the tough position of being an ‘away’ fighter.

But records are not the be all, end all in boxing as Derbyshire proved when comfortably outpointing the home favourite Nathan Reeve (12-2) to take the English crown.

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“Full credit to Nathan, he just kept coming at me,” Derbyshire said.

“There was blood everywhere, I think I cut him two or three times. I was surprised he could see, let alone fight me.

“He was still fighting right up until the last bell, well done to Nathan and his team.”

The newly crowned champion was modest in victory, following his ten-round war with his Northampton foe which he took by unanimous decision on the judge’s scorecards – 98-92, 98-92 and 97-94.

This does not tell the whole story as Derbyshire, in true ‘Rocky style’ grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

Aggressive from the start, he made great use of his jab with ‘shades of Sugar Ray Leonard’ to counteract the hook favoured by his opponent.

Credit must be given to Reeve’s corner as they helped their man go the distance following a nasty cut to his forehead during the first round and a cut to his eye in the fifth round.

There were moments where Reeve wobbled Derbyshire with some heavy shots in the fifth and ninth rounds, in the knowledge he was behind on the scorecards.

But the Doncaster fighter just kept going and followed up with his own brand of firepower, not giving Reeve a moment’s rest as he pushed for a well-deserved victory.

Derbyshire’s coach and mentor Niall Almond of Almond Boxing Academy said: “I’ve had a few lads fight for the English title and they haven’t been successful.

“People had written him off, saying ‘Nathan Reeve is a better boxer and would beat him’.

“It was a fantastic tonight, a great performance.

“Craig’s put his life on hold for three months to get himself ready for tonight.

“Give Craig Derbyshire three months and he will fight anybody, ‘win, lose or draw’.”

Derbyshire’s manager Carl Greaves tweeted later in the night: “Craig’s never boxed in the home corner. Never had to sell a ticket, but last night 50 went over to support him.

“As far as stories goes this is what dreams are made of. Take a bow.”