Curtis Woodhouse 'has worked so hard' for English title
CURTIS Woodhouse admits he is still getting used to being called the 'Champion of England' after the biggest night of his boxing career.
The Driffield fighter claimed the English title as he fought his way to a tough victory over Dave Ryan in their light-welterweight contest at the Magna Centre, Rotherham, on Friday.
Woodhouse was forced to wait for a majority decision from the judges before his success was confirmed, but any other result would have been controversial, with the 17th professional win of his career the biggest of his life.
"It doesn't seem real that I am champion of England," Woodhouse told the Mail, still trying to come to terms with achieving his dream.
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"Nobody ever thought I was going to do this and if I am perfectly honest, I never thought I'd do this when I started off.
"I'm champion of my country in a sport that, when I started off in it, I was rubbish to be honest.
"I've had to work really hard. I've come back from a lot of bumps in the road and it is such a relief to be champion.
"I was fed up of going home and telling my little boy I had lost. I couldn't wait to get home and tell him I am a champion."
The English title around his waist will now give Woodhouse the credibility he has lacked from some quarters of the British boxing scene.
It is a title that was earned the hard way, with the determined 32-year-old pushed all the way by Ryan.
Abandoning his usual aggressive all or nothing approach, Woodhouse tried to tie his opponent up and while the fight was far from his best, it typified his desire to come out a winner.
A blow in the second had Woodhouse rocking and looking out on his feet, but he responded in perfect fashion with a telling left that sent Ryan to the canvas in the third.
Having regained his composure, Ryan attempted to come back into the contest, but another big shot, this time a right from Woodhouse, again had the favourite on the front foot.
As the contest wound up to a nervy finish, Ryan ended the fight as he began it on top, leaving the two boxers facing an anxious wait for the judges' decision.
"It was a tough fight. He hurt me in the second round and my head was all over the place for 45 seconds," Woodhouse admitted.
"I came back and put him down in the third and the champagne was on ice as I didn't think he was going to get back up. But he showed how tough he is. Whenever I felt like I was hurting him he bit his gum shield, dug in and came back to force the pace. It was a real tough fight."