After over a year out of the ring, British welterweight prospect, Samuel Antwi, returns in a great match up against Darren Tetley for the English title.
Pictured: Samuel Antwi is ready to fight again after a year out of the ring (Photo: Boxing News)
Come fight night, it will be little over a year since the 29-year-old last laced up a pair of gloves and stepped through those ropes. Although this will have been an undoubtedly frustrating lay-off for Antwi, he has been professional and diligent and is finally getting an opportunity to put himself on the British boxing map.
“I’m feeling good. Fight night isn’t far away and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve probably been training 2 or 3 times a day, and I’m still feeling really sharp. I’ve trained all throughout lockdown doing what I could, I’ve just been waiting for this chance really.”
‘True Sensation’ had a frustrating 2020, with COVID striking the nation and only having the one dust-up in February, but refused to let absence in the ring define him. As a man with a quite clearly phenomenal work ethic, he continually trained and adjusted to the difficult times.
“From the first lockdown, I was in the parks training. The second lockdown was more of the same, training outdoors and in the parks, so I’ve been training throughout. Due to the fact I’ve been constantly training, I don’t feel rusty or anything. In sparring I feel sharp, so I don’t think it has affected me too much. I guess we’ll see in the ring on fight night, but I feel great and don’t feel rusty at all.”
As soon as the gyms were open and fighters were allowed to begin training properly again, Antwi was eager to put the work in and make a return to the ring. Now, after several months of frustration, the former Southern Area welterweight champion finally has a big fight.
(Photo: Samuel Antwi on Instagram @truesensation)
Friday night sees Antwi take on fellow Brit, Darren Tetley, for the English welterweight title. The London man knows it will be a tough test, but oozes confidence ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
“I know he’s tall, I know he’s a southpaw and I know he’s had quite a few more fights than me, but I don’t tend to look too much into my opponents.
“I let my coach do the research. My coach analyses my opponents, finds their strengths and weaknesses, and then we put a game plan together to beat him, which I believe I will.”
Tetley will be the first southpaw Antwi has faced in his career, but the 29-year-old is confident he can work out the challenge in front of him, and ultimately get the job done.
“I really like fighting southpaws. I like to solve problems, I like puzzles, so I relish the challenge of fighting a southpaw. This is my first southpaw opponent actually, but I think it’s going to be a good one for me.”
With this huge English title fight on the horizon for Antwi, he knows a win would catapult his career in the right direction. Having recently signed with Coldwell Boxing Management, he believes that, along with the English title around his waist, will open the door for some big domestic fights in the coming year.
“Winning the English would mean a lot to me. It would be amazing. It would be perfect. It’s been two years now since I won the Southern Area title. I was hoping to get it a lot sooner, but obviously it’s here now so I can’t complain.
“It’s a great belt to fight for, it’s a step up the ladder and it’s the next belt up from the Southern Area. I’m taking the correct steps. Obviously now with Dave Coldwell, opportunities look like they’re going to be presenting themselves a lot sooner, and I won’t have to be doing as much waiting around, so it’s looking good. I am very happy to be fighting for the English.”
Full of confidence that his arm will be raised on fight night, ‘True Sensation’ knows that winning the English title would put him in a commanding position, and not too far away from a potential British title shot.
“I think the English gives you a spot in the top 10 or 15 in Britain, which is great. I believe I belong in the top two, and not at number two, put it that way.”
Since the resumption of British boxing in July, the lack of a crowd has been an ever-present feature to fight nights. With exception of the Joshua v Pulev fight, where a couple thousand were allowed in the arena to watch, every other show has been behind closed doors.
Antwi’s opponent experienced this already in August, when he was defeated by Liam Taylor over ten rounds. For the 12-1 welterweight however, this will be a totally new experience, but one which Antwi believes will have no effect on him whatsoever.
“I’m not going to let it bother me, I just feel like it’s what we do. Every fight I have, on the way to the ring it’s all nerves, and then as soon as the first punch is thrown, it’s like ‘ok this is what I do literally day to day’, and so I’ve just got to take it the same way really.
“I find I go into a mode where I’m not hearing fans anyway because I’m so focused, but you do hear your coach because you’re so used to hearing him day to day. Don’t get me wrong, the crowd does give you a boost when you land a good shot and you can hear everyone cheering, it gives you a buzz, but I don’t think there being no crowd should make too much of a difference.”
“It might feel more like a spar than anything, just a very competitive one”, said Antwi with laughter in his voice.
The welterweight division is one of the hottest in British boxing right now, and Antwi is very much a big player in that. Being part of such a stacked division can only be a good thing, with high level opposition everywhere you look. The Aaron McLeish trained welterweight believes winning the English title could open doors for him in 2021.
“The division is thriving. There are so many names you can mention. I believe now if I win the belt, it will be a lot easier to get fights. We’ve offered out so many fighters and there is always a no or an excuse or something behind it. It’s really hard to get fights at the moment, but I believe getting a belt will make everything a lot easier and will help me to get right in the mix in Britain. Having a top 10 or 15 spot, people will want to come for it, so having the English title will make that a lot easier.”
With the fight against Tetley fast approaching, a win could set up a potentially fruitful year for Antwi. ‘True Sensation’ hopes that 2021 is a big year for his career, and has plenty of success in store for him.
“I’m really hoping for a big year. It’s something I will talk to Dave Coldwell about. I’d really love to have a fight for the British title before the end of the year. To have the English and then the British all in 2021 would really top off the year for me. I’d really like to take those steps.
“When I started as a professional, I wasn’t even thinking about the Southern Area to be honest, I was thinking about all these other titles I wanted to win. Then you realise, you’ve got to take all of these steps and climb your way up the ladder. I wasn’t on Team GB or anything so you’ve got to take the steps, work your way up, which is what I’m doing now, and I want to do it quickly.”
Antwi is urging fans not to miss Friday night’s fight, and ensures he is going to put on a performance which will put his name on people’s lips.
“It’s going to be a show. I’m going to put on a show, definitely. People are going to be watching me a lot after this, I’m going to put fans on notice. The whole welterweight scene will be put on notice after this fight. It will definitely be a spectacle to watch.”
(Photo: @Leeeaton88 on Twitter)