NEWPORT’S Craig Woodruff has been tipped for stardom by former world champion Steve Robinson after winning his first title on Saturday.
The Alway fighter, trained by ex-British champ Steve Sims, beat Tony Pace to claim the Welsh lightweight belt at the Newport Centre.
Talbot Green man Pace couldn’t cope with Woodruff’s speed, power and stamina and was well behind on the judge’s scorecards when his corner threw in the towel after six brutal rounds.
Welsh boxing legend Robinson helped out in Woodruff’s corner and was impressed with the 20-year-old’s all-action 100mph style.
“Craig was excellent,” said Robinson. “He boxed really well, like an all-round pro. He got caught with some silly shots but he looked good.
“I think he can go a long way,” he added. “He could win the British title.”
Woodruff’s tendency to showboat and drop his hands meant he did take some big hits but he always came back with three or four shots of his own and was on the front foot throughout.
“It feels awesome, I can’t explain how much it means to me,” said Woodruff after he got his hands on the belt.
“I’m over the moon. I did it for my grandad, who passed away recently.
“I proved my point. He said he was going to stop me in the fourth but that was never going to happen.
“People say I’m lazy,” he added. “I never used to train but I did it properly for this fight and all the hard work paid off.
“I thought he’d stay in all the way. He’s tough and I was surprised they threw the towel in but I was going to step it up over the last four rounds.”
Woodruff also paid tribute to Sims and Robinson.
“It was great having Sammy (Sims) and Steve in my corner,” he added.
“They are two great champions and I wouldn’t be here without Sammy.”
Sims said: “I’m delighted for Craig. He’s worked hard and he deserves it.”
Co-promoter Greg Steene added: “We’re looking at the Celtic title next for Craig and down the line a British title fight in Newport.”
Also on the Warriors Boxing Promotions show there were wins for impressive St Joseph’s youngsters Mitchell Buckland and Dai Jones, but stablemate Justyn Hugh was beaten on points by Nathan King.
Trainer Tony Borg said: “Justyn’s a bit down but it’s his own fault. He took his foot off the gas, didn’t do the work he needed to do and let the win slip through his fingers.
“He’s got to man up, get back in the gym and defend his Welsh title – he’ll take on Nathan King over ten rounds.
“But I’m pleased for Dai and especially Mitchell – he’s ready to move on to the next level. He’s very sharp.”
Elsewhere on the undercard Gavin Rees’ trainer Gary Lockett swapped Atlantic City for Newport and saw his man Liam Williams earn a fine stoppage win over Dan Blackwell.
Robinson-trained fighter Craig Kennedy stopped Junior Miller on his pro debut.
Cardiff’s Wayne Brooks enjoyed a first-round KO win over Preston’s Paul Morris, and Newport promoter-turned-fighter Kevin Maddox was knocked out after just two minutes and 36 seconds of his debut contest against Llanelli-based Pole Robert Studzinski.
All the bouts can be viewed at boxingwales.com