News May 2019

Lenny Daws on a mission and still dangerous at 35


By Michael J Jones

This Saturday in Reading Hennessy Sports start their intriguing light-heavyweight tournament live on Channel Five. While head-lining the bill is the vacant British title clash between Dean Francis and Bob Ajisafe, down the on the undercard light-welterweight veteran Lenny Daws makes his first ring appearance of 2014.

Now 35-years-old and 26-3-2 (10) after some eleven years as a pro fighter, Morden’s Daws looks to make another run at a major title this year. His opponent on Saturday has yet to be confirmed but Livefight managed to speak to Lenny about his recent career and his hopes for the year ahead.

I start by asking him about Saturday’s fight at the Rivermead Leisure Centre…

“Training has gone good; hard as always” Lenny tells me after another gruelling session with head coach Ian Burbedge. “We’ve asked for an eight-round fight for Saturday and I think that has made it harder to find an opponent. I had a six-rounder last time so I wanted this to be eight to get ready for a title fight in May or June.”

Daws didn’t have the best 2013. Last June he would lose a hugely controversial decision in Italy to Michele Di Rocco in a bout for the vacant European title. Despite the uproar the contest created there would be no rematch. Lenny’s only other ring appearance would be some five months later when out-pointing Welsh upstart Tony Pace in Kent.

“It was tough as we thought I’d done enough to win” replies the 5’10” veteran when I ask him about the Di Rocco fight. “I thought I was doing enough, he was cut and his promoter put a yellow substance on the wound which we still don’t know what it was…then I put him over in the last and they called it a slip. If that had been a 10-8 round I would have gotten a draw.”

“Mick Williamson was my cut-man for that fight and he said he didn’t have a clue what the (yellow substance) was. Usually a corner can only put either Vaseline or adrenaline to a cut and they are both clear.”

Surely if a promoter leaps into the ring to put a clearly illegal substance on a fighter’s cut there would be serious implications for the offending party. Not on this occasion. Despite Daws’ team repeatedly asking the Italian’s to explain themselves (plus a picture circulating like wild fire on social media), the former British champion is still to this day left without answers.

“Me personally I think (the yellow liquid) was some sort of glue to keep the cut under control. We pushed hard for a rematch but they weren’t interested. It’s a bit frustrating as that fight could have made big things happen but we’ve just got to move on and put it behind us.”

Daws has always been a solid fighter blessed with a good engine and a granite jaw. Those attributes have seen him grind out impressive victories over the likes of Colin Lynes, Nigel Wright and Stevie Williams in his career. Luck is one thing he’s never had an awful lot of though…

“I know people tell me all the time I should still be undefeated” chuckles the 35-year-old. “I should never have lost to Barry Morrison (in 2007 to lose his British title). I avenged the loss and needed to beat Jason Cook to claim the Lonsdale belt outright. I beat Cook but it was scored a draw and then I lost to Ashley Theophane so never got the belt to keep.”

Lenny reveals losing his cherished British title was to be a prelude to a greater upset as things would take a tragic turn outside the ring.

“That was the worst moment in my career three weeks after the Theophane fight. My pregnant partner got rushed into hospital and we lost our baby girl. It was obviously devastating and it was my mum and three kids that got me through it.”

The fighter known as “Lightning” eventually overcame the heart-breaking tragedy to resume full-training.

Daws’ only defeat since the Theophane disappointment three years ago was the Di Rocco fiasco in Italy. With him searching for another title fight is new British champion Curtis Woodhouse possibly on his radar?

“To be honest there’s bigger fights out there for me. I’d love to fight for the British title again but maybe I can come back to it a bit later. I don’t know what title we are aiming for next but I’ll have a sit down with Mick (Hennessy) to work out the best title route for us.”

One thing I’ve noticed with Daws is when he’s not engaging in title matches he seems to be pitted against young pros who would never be providing an easy night’s work for the light-welterweight contender. Men such as Chris Truman, Dean Mills and, most recently, Pace could have proven a banana skin for the higher-ranked fighter.

“It’s always dangerous as these younger fighters look at me as a huge scalp” reasons Lenny. “They come motivated and will do anything they can to win and nick my rankings. This fight on Saturday is no different and that’s why I have to be careful no matter who I face.”

What does the Londoner feel he has left now he’s in his mid-thirties?

“I still believe I’ve got a lot left” insists Lenny firmly. “I’ve still got the fitness and many of the younger lads in the gym can’t keep up with me. I still make the 10st weight limit fine; I make it easier now than when I was younger. I live the life now as a full-time boxer where years ago I was working too.”

“I can’t wait for Saturday to get back out there” he continues with enthusiasm. “I’m a longer-rounds fighter and you need to stay active in this game. I’m still going strong and as long as I can keep going and winning I’ll carry on. I’ll only leave the sport if I fall out of love with it or suffer a bad defeat. Until then I’ll keep pushing on.”

“I’m not fussed who I fight, I’ve never ducked anybody in my career and just hope something big comes along before it’s too late.”

Nice-guy Lenny is still a tough proposition for anyone at or below European level. Despite many fine victories in his career, the former two-time British champion still seems as hungry as ever and will likely be contesting titles in the coming months providing he gets the chance.

Livefight would like to thank both Lenny and his trainer Ian Burbedge for agreeing an interview so close to fight date.

The MaxiNutrition Knockout boxing show brought to you from Hennessy Sports is on Channel Five this Saturday from 10pm. Aside from Francis vs Ajisafe there will be another quarter-final match between Irishman Leon Senior and Tony Hill for the Southern Area light-heavyweight title.

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