The lengthy highlight reel of Driffield’s Curtis Woodhouse received further footage on Friday evening as the former Birmingham City soccer player produced a gutsy display to capture the vacant English 10st title following a tight points decision over Derby’s equally game, Dave Ryan. The terrific tussle at Rotherham’s well-attended Magna Centre delivered Woodhouse his first professional gong since hanging up his football boots and it was the ideal reward following 10 rounds of quality action.
The action began ferociously, and it was Ryan who made the better start as he dominated the opening stanza with accurate aggression. The following two sessions had a similar aura to the inaugural round but a quality left hand equaliser from Woodhouse halfway through round three had Ryan on the floor and despite surviving a nine-count from third man, John Keane, the moment provided Woodhouse with the impetus to push on as Ryan’s confidence received a huge dent.
The remainder of the battle was fought at close quarters but every argument that occurred was ended by Woodhouse who finished every flurry with a left hook that Ryan just couldn’t avoid. It was the middle chapters of the fight that were dominated most by Woodhouse but a disastrous final round had fans on their feet as Ryan pushed forward at every opportunity in what was a carbon copy of the fight’s opener.
Woodhouse weathered the storm by holding onto Ryan every time the East Midlands got close but he couldn’t avoid every attack and Ryan’s heavy shots made portions of Woodhouse’s support anxious as they screamed desperately for their man to hold on. With the final bell sounding, it was down to the judges to decide the victor and it was Woodhouse who got the nod via scores of 96-94, 95-94, and 95-95. Promoter Dave Coldwell failed to hide his delight for his man and was quick to indicate where Woodhouse’s sight will now be fixed.
“We want the British title for Curtis,” demanded Coldwell immediately after. “The English title is a quality belt for Curtis but mark my words, this is just the beginning for Curtis Woodhouse. We’re going to let him enjoy this victory because he’s been working so hard in the gym and this is his second really tough fight in the space of just a few months. The light-welterweight division in Britain is really wide open at the moment and there doesn’t seem to be anyone who is standing out more than others. Curtis is right in the middle of that mix and I’ll be working hard to get him further opportunities down the line.”