BOXING: Woodhouse is just champion

Curtis Woodhouse Weigh-in at Rotherham Uniteds New York Stadium
Curtis Woodhouse Weigh-in at Rotherham Uniteds New York Stadium
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THERE can’t have been many football managers on the touchline on Saturday sporting a black eye, seven stitches to the forehead, a bulging lip and a broken left hand.

But there aren’t many (or any) like Curtis Woodhouse.

His CV reads: former Sheffield United midfielder, current Sheffield FC boss - and, after Friday, current English light welterweight boxing champion. Personally, I’m still not sure what the greatest achievement was for him, this weekend.

Becoming a national belt holder, or managing to stand up for 90 minutes at Carlton, leading your team to a 2-2 draw despite a pulsating headache and aching ribs.

But he did. And, in boxing, the fact is that, in his 21st fight, Woodhouse came of age. He dropped his opponent Dave Ryan, at Rotherham’s Magna Centre, with a savage left hook in the third round, but failed to subdue him.

Ryan, 29, came back with some damaging body shots and also cut Woodhouse in the eighth round.

As the end of the all-action fight loomed, stable mates Ryan Rhodes and Dave Coldwell, were pleading from ringside to hang on.

That he did, taking a points decision: 95-95, 96-94, 95-94.

Typically, the 32-year-old Driffield-based scrapper thought he’d won by a clearer margin.

“The left hook that put Ryan on his backside was one of the best I’ve ever landed,” said the ex-Blades and Millers midfielder.

“But there were two people who wanted that title and he’d already caught me with with a shot to the temple that disorientated me - I wasn’t hurt, but I was on the waltzers.

“My cut came from a clash of heads. When I went back to my corner I couldn’t see because of the blood in one eye but Glyn Rhodes (trainer) told me: ‘You’ve got another eye’ which made me laugh.

“I had to hang on in the last round but I knew I was ahead and was wary of being caught as I have been on the end of bad split decisions before.”

Woodhouse singled out Coldwell, his promoter, as his inspiration.

“Dave has always believed in me,” he added.