Clinton Woods versus man who helped him to pinnacle

Learning the ropes: Woods in Cameron's corner. Pic: Steve parkin
Learning the ropes: Woods in Cameron's corner. Pic: Steve parkin
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NEXT month’s all-Sheffield boxing derby will be more than just two city boxers duelling it out for a title and local bragging rights.

The cornermen of Liam Cameron and Jez Wilson will also have a point to prove against each other.

Clinton Woods and Glyn Rhodes have been pals and training partners over the years.

Rhodes helped Woods, in the early stages, on the path to an eventual IBF world title.

Then later, he regained the reigns of his career as he fought to retrieve the IBF honour.

Now the pair will be adversaries as they try to plot victory in what Rhodes calls a “50-50” fight between Cameron and Wilson, for the Central Area title, at Don Valley stadium, on June 23.

Recently, Woods told The Star that he was confident Cameron, 21, who was hyped up to be the next-best-thing before losing his unbeaten record two years ago, would come out on top in the derby contest.

The former world champion added that after the personal experience of sparring with both men in his time, he was doubly assured Cameron would emerge the victorious fighter.

But Rhodes said: “It must be three years since Clinton sparred with Jez and a lot changes in a month let alone that long.

“It is going to be a close fight and very difficult to predict.

“All I know is that this is a great event for Sheffield: an even contest involving two dedicated and hard-working opponents. Both are a credit to our city.”

Rhodes accepts that Cameron is “recognised as a better boxer and quicker.”

But the trainer said: “He is going to find Jez can be quite a handful, on the night.”

Rhodes trained his present-day rival, Woods, for several fights in the mid 1990s.

There was then a gap until 2009 before Rhodes re-appeared in his corner for fights in Jersey and America.

In the latter, Woods lost his chance to reclaim his IBF light heavyweight belt (losing to American Tavoris Cloud) and retired straight after.

Rhodes admitted: “It will be a strange feeling being up against Clinton.

“He is inexperienced at this part of the sport, but then again, we all have to start somewhere. What is said in the corner can be important to a fight. I might not be the best trainer in the world but I know what to say in the corner when something needs changing. Hopefully that might give us an edge.

“I have nothing but respect for Clinton and his record. But being a cornerman is a different kettle of fish.”

Both middleweights have records blighted by just one defeat: Cameron, of Manor Park, in a career-changing points loss to Erick Ochieng 12 months ago and Wilson, from Crosspool, to a second round TKO to Farai Musiyiwa two years ago.