Boxing: Joss Paul did what Tony Bellew couldn’t

Joss Paul and Sheffield Steeler Mike Ratchuk
Joss Paul and Sheffield Steeler Mike Ratchuk
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Joss Paul thoroughly enjoyed stopping tough Latvian opponent Jevgenijs Andrejevs - a man Tony Bellew couldn’t put down.

But the level headed Eckington cruiserweight isn’t reading anything into that - or in any rush to take any risks with his fledgling career.

Paul, trained by former Sheffield world campion Clinton Woods, chalked up his sixth straight win, at Bramall Lane last weekend.

But the fact he ended the night early for Andrejevs, 35, a man stopped only six times in a 90-fight career, attracted a lot of praise, not least of all from his fan club of Sheffield Steelers ice hockey players, who follow his boxing journey.

Paul admitted it was a “pretty tough” night against a durable opponent. I didn’t think I would be able to stop him” he said. “We had a game plan for it, did what we do and ended up getting the stoppage. It’s the first time he’s been stopped in the UK.”

Paul, 26, was happy to have beaten Bellew’s performance against the southpaw, but accepts the scouser’s points win was a long time ago (2008) and at light heavyweight. Bellew, though, was down in the final round of the fight.

The Derbyshire fighter said: “I didn’t have much amateur experience so I’m definitely going to take my time. I am just working my way up and take each fight as it comes. Hopefully next year we will be stepping up to six rounds.”

Paul, who says the late Italian Canadian Arturo Gatti was his hero in the game, accepts he has a lot to learn, not least of all “I need to pick my shots better.”

He said Woods was a tough taskmaster and he had to juggle training sessions between boxing and his job as a welder.

He might have a decision to make, one or the other, depending on how far he gets in the sport, but: “I’ll just take every fight as it comes. And if it happens, it happens.”