11:27am Monday 17th March 2014
By Andrew Penman
JEROME Samuels created a little bit of history at the Newport Centre on Friday night by winning the Welsh light-middleweight title – the same belt that his dad Paul won back in 1998.
The Newport prospect’s 97-96 points victory over Blackwood’s Dai Jones continued his remarkable career turnaround as a professional.
Samuels, a Welsh champion as an amateur, seemed to have no chance of following in his father’s footsteps in the pro ranks after losing his first five fights in 2012.
But new trainer Richie Garner and manager Greg Steene have guided the 20-year-old to five successive wins since then, culminating in Friday’s thrilling victory over a dogged Jones and a first belt.
“It’s like a dream for me. It’s unbelievable,” said Samuels. “I have to thank the team I’ve got around me because life doesn’t always go smooth but I’m happy they’re here with me.
“My trainer Richie Garner and my manager Greg Steene have turned it around for me.
“When they got hold of me I was zero and five. Jerome Samuels was a nobody and now all of a sudden I’ve won five in a row and I’m Welsh champion.
“I can’t believe that I’ve got this belt now and it’s coming home with me.
“It’s exactly the same title that my dad won and I’m proud that the boxing genes have passed on to me.
“That was the first title he ever won and now I’ve won it as well so I’ve created a bit of history there, no matter what else I achieve in the sport.
“It’s a fresh start now for me,” he added. “I look back on those defeats as a blessing now because they’ve made me a better boxer and you still haven’t seen the best of me.”
Friday night’s display was not the best of Samuels but he edged an incredibly close contest full of courage and determination from both fighters with a controlled last round to seal the verdict from referee Clarke Joslyn.
“I’m going to enjoy it now, have a week off, and then I’m on a bill on April 24 at the York Hall and hopefully May 17 on the Lee Selby bill in Cardiff,” said Samuels.
“Obviously now there’s going to be a lot of people chasing Jerome Samuels for a shot at the title and I want to defend it or maybe move on to the Celtic title.”
Also on the Steve Robinson Promotions 'Enter the Dragon' bill there were wins for Newbridge’s Bradley Pryce, Cardiff cruiserweight Craig Kennedy, St Joseph’s man Danni Griffiths and Tony Dixon and Kyle King.
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