Super-middleweight prospect Harry Woods (4-1), from Maghull, Liverpool, boldly accepted a last-minute invitation to the Ultimate Boxxer 7 tournament, televised live on BT Sport and ITV4 on November 10 in London.
25-year-old Woods, a former England amateur representative with over 80 bouts as experience, was paired with MTK signed prospect Mike McGoldrick (7-1, 2KOs) in the second semi-final of the four-man super-middleweight knockout tournament, behind closed doors at the BT Sport Studios in Stratford.
The three-round contest was fought in close quarters and was easily the best fight of the night, with thrilling exchanges traded for the full nine minutes of non-stop action.
Unfortunately for Woods, the decision from the three ringside judges all went the other way, meaning he wouldn’t advance to the final where former Southern Area champion Zak Chelli (9-1-1, 4KOs) was waiting, who went on to defeat McGoldrick to win the tournament.
Trained by Paul Stevenson at the talent-laden Everton Red Triangle Gym, Woods took time out to speak exclusively to BBN:
What was it like fighting within that very different environment without any fans or noise, as well as the TV cameras for the first time ever?
“It was a little but different, to be honest, but I didn’t mind it. I didn’t read too much into all that, but it just felt a little bit different. I didn’t pay any attention to any of the cameras, I just focused on the fight ahead.”
Talk us through the fight and how you think it went?
“I think when I started off I was trying to keep him on end of the jab but only had three rounds and wanted to push the pace to make sure I was winning the rounds.”
What did you think of him as an opponent and did he surprise you?
“Yeah, he’s good, he was busy wasn’t he. It would be a good fight over longer rounds, I think.”
What went through your head when you heard the scores read aloud?
“I knew it was close, it’s always hard to gauge round by round when you’re in there, but I knew it was a close fight, and was just hoping I was getting through to the final.”
Looking back, what would you have changed?
“I haven’t watched it back properly yet; I’ll watch it back with Paul [Stevenson] and assess it then. I think if I had got through to the final, I would have had something more to give. I felt ok after the fight, so I would have been good to go for the final.”
What was the whole Ultimate Boxxer experience like and would you do it again if offered?
“It was all a bit mad, I didn’t mind it and felt quite focused, but it was a good experience, very organised and professional. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
What feedback have you from people watching?
“To be honest, it's been positive, a lot people have been saying to me that it was a really entertaining fight.”
There’s a lot of negative and unnecessary stigma attached to having a loss on your record, mostly a viewpoint shared by casual boxing fans, but how does it feel to you, personally?
“I don’t think it means a lot, I’d always take them kind of fights. I think the way the world is at the minute, you’ve got to take every opportunity you can.”
What’s next for you?
“I’ll probably be back in the gym with Paul next week. I think just get back out there fighting whatever, hard to say at the moment, but just want to keep on fighting and just keep pushing on.”
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