THE night Curtis Woodhouse achieved his dream and won the British title was supposed to be the final chapter in the former footballer’s fairytale. In February, moments after defeating Darren Hamilton to land the light-welterweight belt, the former footballer confirmed he was retiring from the ring. The title-winning victory had fulfilled the promise he made to his late father. He could bank the hefty windfall he won by (allegedly) betting on himself to rule his land. It was supposed to be the ultimate happy ending.
Within a few days the bruises and cheers of victory started to fade, and Woodhouse began to have second thoughts about his decision. In June, he returned, for just one more fight. That old promise. One more fight. One more hit. One more high. And then I’ll give it up for good.
He was soundly beaten by Willie Limond over 12 rounds. At 34 years old, with a bank balance and a fully checked list of spectacular personal goals, it really did feel like Woodhouse was ready to walk away. But in boxing, no one is ever truly ready to walk away.
“The journey today as come to a end, my journey as a prize fighter will continue,” the Yorkshirman announced via Twitter yesterday. “You can’t listen to anybody else, only yourself, being pigheaded got me where I am today, I’ve got tons left just you wait and see.”
But long-time promoter and manager David Coldwell, who guided Woodhouse along a rocky road to the top, will not stand by his side anymore. Coldwell made no secret of the fact he wanted Curtis to retire after the Hamilton fight, and although both sides can confirm they are still close friends, they will not be working together as the fighter embarks on yet another chapter.
“Coldwell Boxing’s goal when working with Curtis Woodhouse was to deliver him the British title,” the promoter explained in a statement. “The crossover from footballer to boxer was one that came with several problems but ourselves and Curtis overcame them all and we achieved our mission when Curtis defeated Darren Hamilton to realise his dream. Coldwell Boxing have today released Curtis from promotional and managerial contracts.
“My time with Curtis as trainer, manager, promoter and friend is a period I will always recall with great fondness and the setbacks he overcome to become English and British champion will always fill me with immense pride. Wins against the likes of Dave Ryan and Hamilton proved that Curtis was an accomplished domestic campaigner and his ability to bounce back from devastating defeats against Frankie Gavin, Dale Miles and Derry Mathews proved that he was an absolute warrior.
“Everyone at Coldwell Boxing wishes Curtis all the best in his future endeavours and he can always be guaranteed a special place in everyone’s hearts here. It’s been a pleasure being at Curtis’ side during his incredible journey and I hope that his story will continue to be a successful one.”
Woodhouse is determined to surprise us all again. The odds are against him again, but after what his bloody-mindedness has achieved to date, perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to write him off.
But in boxing, happy endings rarely happen once, let alone twice.