Former footballer Woodhouse wins British title – and then retires

23/02/2014 07:35

Former professional footballer Curtis Woodhouse won the British light-welterweight title in a thrilling win over defending champion Darren Hamilton - before confirming his retirement on Saturday night at Hull's Ice Arena.

Woodhouse, who switched to the ring eight years ago, had promised this would be his last fight - win, lose or draw.

After 12 rounds of non-stop action the judges gave Woodhouse the verdict by margins of 116-115 and 116-114, while the other scored it 116-113 for defending champion Hamilton.

Woodhouse, who improved his overall record to 22-6, said: "When I was 10 years old, they told me I can't be a footballer, everyone laughed at me.

"When I said I was going to be a professional boxer, everyone laughed at me again. I had the audacity to say I was going to be a British champion, I honestly can't believe this has happened."

On his retirement plan, he added: "How can I ever top what has happened tonight, this will never get better for me. I wanted to bow out as champion and aim to stick to that.

"There's a rumour going around - that I can neither confirm or deny - I had a £5,000 bet on myself to win the British title at 50/1. The drinks are on me baby!"


Bristol-based Hamilton was making the third defence of his British belt and had gone the distance in each of his last four contests.

It again followed a similar script with nearly every round closely fought, leaving the judges with an unenviable task to come up with a winner.

Hamilton had started well before Yorkshireman Woodhouse came on strong from the second round onwards, enjoying particular success when he attacked the body.

Both fighters were looking to set up their right hand but neither ever looked capable of a stoppage.

Hamilton had some of his best moments in the eighth, pinning his opponent against the ropes with a barrage to the body.

Understandably given the relentless pace, both men slowed slightly in the closing rounds; Woodhouse enjoyed the better of the 11th and the Hamilton doing likewise in the 12th.

Hamilton, whose record now drops to 14-3, took the decision graciously: "It could have gone either way. He had the advantage of being at home. It was a close fight. As the champion I should have dominated a lot more."

Also on the card

Olympic champion Luke Campbell stopped Scott Moises in the final round of their eight round contest.

Campbell made a confident start and a flurry of punches forced Moises to cover up on the ropes, while a straight left made him totter backwards.

Another lightning left from Campbell caught Moises unawares in the second, sending him crashing down by the ropes, but he swiftly rose and bobbed away from a barrage of punches.

Moises wore a permanent grin, appearing to almost enjoy the steady punishment, and Campbell dug in spiteful body shots in the third.

A looping left knocked Moises off balance in the fourth, drawing blood from his nose, but still he grinned and answered with a rare right hand in the fifth.

Campbell showcased some stinging combinations in the sixth and Moises briefly sagged under a body shot in the seventh as he soaked up yet more punches.

His stubborn resistance was finally broken in the final round when two lefts shook Moises to his boots before a brutal body shot dumped him on the canvas.

Moises bravely clambered to his feet, but Campbell was waiting to finish off his stricken foe and a few more punches forced the referee's intervention.

Hull fighter Campbell, 26,  who took bantamweight gold at London 2012, his now unbeaten in five professional bouts.

Gavin McDonnell claimed the British super-bantamweight title with a thrilling stoppage win over Leigh Wood.

McDonnell was trailing on the scorecards after a torrid start, but suddenly turned the fight around with a savage sixth-round onslaught which forced the referee to intervene.

Gavin followed in the footsteps of his brother Jamie, a former British champion, the first pair of twins to win the Lonsdale belt.

Wood suffered an early setback as a slip was incorrectly called a knockdown in the opener, but the Nottingham man ignored this error and pumped out stiff jabs.

A right hand ripped through McDonnell's defences when Wood raised the tempo in the second and a body shot visibly hurt the Yorkshireman, who was left with a badly cut eye.

Wood's reflexes were razor sharp and he landed a sharp left hand in the third, but McDonnell gained a foothold in the fourth, catching his foe with crisp punches.

Both men traded shots at close-quarters in an evenly-contested fifth and Wood was being dragged into a dog-fight.

Wood's composed boxing skills deserted him in the sixth as McDonnell stepped up his assault, dazing his opponent with a relentless barrage of punches.

Referee Marcus McDonnell briefly halted the attack to check on the wilting Wood, but his namesake would not be denied and a flurry of punches forced the finish.

Tommy Coyle overcame four knockdowns to retain his IBF international lightweight title against Daniel Brizuela.

Coyle was always on the back foot after he was dropped by a right hand in the second round.

A sickening body shot put him down again in the sixth and when he crumpled to the floor again in his own corner later in the round the game looked up.

But, showing tremendous heart, the local boy bravely fought his way back into the fight and after being docked a point early in the eighth for repeated low blows, he caught his Argentinian foe with right hook that put him down.

Brizuela made it to the bell on unsteady legs, and suddenly Coyle was on top, if not ahead on the scorecards.

Brizuela was then surprisingly penalised for a low blow in the ninth that had Coyle down and gasping for oxygen, and the heads came together in the 10th in a tangle that saw a cut open up above Brizuela's left eye.

The Argentine seemed to have caught his second wind though in a close 10th round, but there was further drama to come.

The 11th was the best of the fight - Brizuela digging spiteful left hooks to the body that once again had Coyle over, his face twisted in pain.

Remarkably Coyle not only beat the count but threw a huge right over the top that sent his opponent crashing heavily to the canvas.

Brizuela beat the count on wobbly legs but a combination of punches put him down for a second time in the round. Coyle's eagerness to finish it saw him deducted another point for hitting on the break as scorecards were torn apart in a rip-roaring finale.

Into the final round it seemed that Coyle to win it to have any chance of retaining his title - and it was barely 30 seconds old before Brizuela was down again to a big right cross.

Once again he beat the count but he didn't have much left and when he went over for a fourth time, despite the determined South American rising at the count of six, referee Steve Gray called it off.