Just days before Darren Tetley takes to the ring for one of his toughest fights to date, I was privileged to catch up with him and hear his thoughts on his upcoming fight, potential future bouts and his personal struggles before the Cartwright fight.
The unbeaten Darren Tetley takes on Liam Taylor in an eliminator for the British Welterweight Title, which is currently held by Swansea born, Chris Jenkins. The bout is being classed as a 50-50 fight and promises to be an action packed 10 rounder or at least whilst it lasts.
In recent fights, Darren admitted he has not always followed a strict diet plan before fights and explained making weight is never easy.
“I hate making weight, most fighters do. It always seems as if the last pound or two is the hardest to get off. In previous fights, I would have treated myself to the odd Dr Pepper and a chocolate bar on my way home from training, even two or three days before fight night but this time it has been different. I have been eating healthy, I have not cut any corners and I have certainly seen the benefits”.
“I am going to stop Liam late on. I am not the fastest of starters in a fight, I like to take my time and then come on strong towards the championship rounds. I have felt like he has been talking down to me in his recent interviews and I do not like it. He makes out he is British level, but he isn’t as you have to hold the belt to back that up. Neither of us have our established ourselves as British level fighters yet but once I win on Wednesday night and hopefully fight Chris Jenkins in the next 12-18 months. Even when I win on Wednesday night, I still cannot claim I am a British level fighter.”
Darren has rubbished claims that Liam Taylor is his hardest fight to date and that Taylor has the better names on his record.
“I don’t believe this is my hardest fight to date. I fought and beat the best version of Mason Cartwright. I do not want to take anything away from Liam, he avenged his defeat against Tyrone Nurse but let’s be honest, his career was on the decline when they fought the rematch. I give credit to Liam for avenging his only loss but when you compare my record to his, I have beaten three fighters with winning records whereas he has only beaten two.”
Darren spoke about the personal battle he faced in the build-up to the Cartwright fight.
“My grandad passed away just weeks before the fight. I just knew the funeral would be around the date of the fight and I was being advised by others to pull out of the fight. I remember getting a call saying the funeral was on the same day as the weigh in. I left the service at 12 and went to the weigh in at 1 which was tough. I was really close to my grandad; I kept his fight ticket and even left his seat free on fight night as I know he was there. I won that fight for him and I know he threw every punch with me. I remember walking to the ring and had tears in my eyes listening to the ring walk song, it was his song. I remember being behind on the scorecards and just said to my corner I must go for this now which I did. I got the stoppage and then the emotions just come out of me. It still didn’t really sink in until 2-3 weeks after the fight, that was when I started to grieve. I remember just sitting there and I broke down.”
Lockdown has had an impact on most people with living habits having to change but Darren used this time to enjoy family life as well as giving him time to think and reflect.
“Lockdown for me was fantastic. I have a full-time job away from boxing, so I worked through most of it, but it also allowed me to spend some time at home with the wife and kids. Lockdown was also eventful; the wife likes to joke around and has been constantly telling me at home that I may beat Liam Taylor, but she would still batter me. The time away from boxing also gave me time to think and reflect. It has made me hungrier than ever to be successful in this sport”.
If Darren is successful on Wednesday night; he certainly wants that shot at the British title.
“Whether it is Jenkins or Benn who holds the belt, I want a shot at it. There are talks of those two-fighting next so I would love to fight the winner and prove myself. I do not really look at other fights, I try to focus on myself and beating whoever is put in front of me. I have proved time and time again that I am mentally strong inside and outside the ring.”
With arenas still empty and the lack of atmosphere an obstacle all fighters must prepare for, Darren does not think it will influence him.