The British Super-Featherweight Title Jinx

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Since it's re-introduction in 1986, the British super-featherweight title was a difficult championship to keep hold of. In fact it took fourteen champions and eight years for one to make a first successful defence.

Here is a list of the British super-featherweight champions:-

John Doherty - 16th January to 17th April 1986

Doherty didn't have the greatest start to his professional career, losing his debut to Taffy Mills in the first round on 26th May 1982. The Bradford born Doherty then got back on track by winning his next eight and getting back-to-back draws against Ray Plant and Steve Enwright in 1983. He then lost his next bout to Anthony Brown over a six round points decision.

After two wins he ended 1983 with a seventh round TKO defeat to Stuart Carmichael. He drew his first contest of 1984 against Les Walsh over eight rounds, then went on a winning streak of ten victories over two years, including a win over Les Walsh in a rematch.

On 16th January 1986 he fought Pat Doherty for the vacant British super-featherweight title. It was a night of firsts; it was the fist British title fight of the year, the first British title contest to be held in Preston and the winner would be the first British champion of the newly formed weight division.

John Doherty took the fight on short notice and was a good counter puncher against the aggressive come forward style of Pat Doherty of Croydon. The Bradford man took the championship over the full twelve rounds with John Coyle, the referee, scoring it 118-117 (two rounds, as under British rules rounds were scored on the half point system; e.g. the winner of a round will get 10 points, whilst the loser of the round would get 9½ points).

Pat Cowdell - 17th April to 24th May 1986

Pat Cowdell was born on 18th August 1953 in Smethwick, West Midlands and in 1973 captured the ABA bantamweight championship. He also won the ABA lightweight title in 1975, and stepped up to featherweight taking the ABA featherweight title in 1976 and 77. He also became the bronze medal winner at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, losing to eventual winner Gu Yong-Ju.

He made his professional debut at lightweight on 05th July 1977, beating Albert Coley over a six round decision. He lost his sixth bout on a cut eyebrow in the second round to Alan Robertson. In his tenth contest he took on Les Pickett, winning a twelve round points

decision in a Final Eliminator for the British featherweight championship.

He took on British champion Dave Needham at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton on 18 September 1979. The referee scored the bout 147-146 in the champion's favour. The decision was controversial and many in the crowd angrily protested for at least fifteen minutes. Luckily for Cowdell he managed to obtain an immediate rematch two months later.

The November bout took place at London's Royal Albert Hall, where he had to go the full fifteen rounds again, this time winning 148-147. In Cowdell's second defence he faced Needham for a third time, winning by a twelfth round retirement. The victory meant that he could keep the Lonsdale belt outright, as he had won three British title fights.

Five victories later he was finally in the big time as on 12th December 1981 he travelled to Houston, USA to take on the great WBC featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez. The champion was only twenty-two years old and was making his seventh defence against Cowdell. The champion put Cowdell down in the fifteenth round and retained the title on a split decision verdict 146-140, 148-137 and 144-145.

Cowdell regrouped in March 1982 by beating the Italian Salvatore Melluzzo for the European featherweight crown by a tenth round TKO due to a badly cut eye. He defended the championship in Zurich against Sepp Iten, winning by a twelfth round technical knockout. He was out of the ring for seventeen months, but came back as a super-featherweight on 10th May 1984, stopping Kevin Pritchard in the fifth round. Two months later he defeated the Belgian Jean-Marc Renard for his European super-featherweight belt with a twelve round unanimous decision.

He defended the crown three times and on 12th October 1985 he boiled back down to featherweight to challenge Azumah Nelson for his WBC featherweight title. The bout took place at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre. Nelson took the belt with eleventh round knockout of Wilfredo Gomez and was making his second defence against the Englishman.

Nelson, from Accra, Ghana, was all smiles during the introductions as the crowd was pro Cowdell. They traded punches from the opening bell, but it was the champion who was the more sound defensively. The challenger threw a left hook, but dropped his right hand, leaving him open to the champion's left uppercut. Cowdell was immediately unconscious, as referee Octavio Meyran counted him out. He was out for several minutes before getting to his feet. (See The Professor for more information.

He was back in action four months later winning against Steve Griffiths in the sixth round. He then challenged John Doherty for the British super-featherweight title, winning by a sixth round TKO.

Najib Daho - 24th May 1986 to 26th October 1987

Najib Daho was born in Morocco on 13th January 1959, but fought his entire professional career in England and Europe, residing in Manchester. He turned professional on 17th May 1977, defeating Kevin Sheehan in the second round. He then lost his next three, winning two and drawing one, then losing one, bringing his career to 4-3-1 at the end of his first year as a professional.

This is how is career would pan out, winning as many as he lost. His best win to date came against Chris Sanigar in December 1979, stopping his man in the first round with a cut left eyebrow. Four fights later he faced former WBA lightweight champion Ken Buchanan on 15th May 1980, losing by a seven