Sheffield boxing: Ross defends title in honour of Jerome

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Ross Burkinshaw has pledged to defend his Commonwealth title on behalf of injured Sheffield boxer Jerome Wilson.

Burkinshaw is a friend and former sparring partner of Wilson, who was in a coma after being knocked out.

Ross Burkinshaw with his title belt

Ross Burkinshaw with his title belt

The Beighton bantamweight visited Wilson recently in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

He said: As I walked in he was sat there with a couple of his trainers Ian and Mark, he was facing the direction I was coming from, and he said: ‘Ross is here!’

“I couldn’t believe it. I knew he was doing well but I didn’t expect him to remember me that quick. He was having a full-blown conversation with me.”

Burkinshaw recently won the Commonwealth belt at Doncaster and Wilson made him promise he would defend it in Sheffield - probably in the first week of December.

“I told him part of it (the title victory) is for him. He was so happy.”

Twenty-eight year old former soldier Burkinshaw (won 13 lost 5 drawn 2) says the boxing world had been sending its wishes to Wilson through social media.

“Everybody has been rallying around him. He has a big close family, they have also said the boxing world is his family. We are really all pulling together to help. Look at how much he is fighting and how much he has come on.”

Medical staff say Wilson’s ultra-fit conditioning had helped him. “I just hope and pray for a full recovery” said the fighter. “After seeing him I think there is a high possibility he will surprise us all.”

* Former Sheffield United footballer and British light-welter champion Curtis Woodhouse has turned his back on retirement and signed a three year managerial deal with promoter Dennis Hobson. Woodhouse quit after losing his crown in June to Scotland’s Willie Limond. However, the 34-year-old has had a change of heart.

“When you look at Dennis’ track record, it’s not been a flash in the pan. He’s been delivering for his fighters for the last 10-15 years, and that’s what appealed to me more than anything” he said.

Hobson commented: “He’s the kind of fighter fans love to watch.”