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My Night: Jane Couch challenges for two world titles

Jane Couch
Action Images/Aubrey Washington
Jane Couch on the night she proved she could compete at the top level

THERE are a few I could choose but the main one I suppose was the first Jaime Clampitt fight for two world titles. I think they took me on because they thought I was over the hill.

I remember I was on the farm where I live and [trainer/manager] Tex [Woodward] came in and he had the e-mail from [Connecticut promoter] Jimmy Burchfield. I was over the moon. I had already boxed at the Foxwoods once before on a Roy Jones Jnr undercard and I knew it would be a hard fight so I just started getting ready straight away.

She was probably the No.1 or No.2 in the world at super-light and I knew that going over there I would have to knock her out to win. Well I thought I would. It ended up being that convincing that they had no choice but to give it me.

[As the ‘away’ fighter] the promoters would always send us on wild goose chases. When I got over there I had to have my bloods done again, they said the medical I had in England was not good enough and there was always a lot of messing about. We were told to go to the wrong places for the weigh-ins and press conferences – all of that sort of stuff – so I had got used to it. But I had to box abroad because I was not really made to feel welcome in this country.

There wasn’t a lot on the line for me in the fight in terms of pressure, I had nothing to lose because she was the favourite. Having said that, I probably would have quit if I had lost because I was thinking I was going to have to retire soon and she was the superstar. She had all of the pressure on her and she had just signed a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola. I just wanted to prove that I could still cut it with the best in the world and I did.

She was just very confident, like you would expect the ‘home’ fighter to be with the promotional team around her making things difficult for us. But she was very cocksure, very confident – not arrogant. But when I looked at her record I could see that she was well protected. She had good names on her record but she had got them at the right time. When you compared my record with hers, I might have lost to some big names – like Lucia Rijker, probably the best [women] fighter ever – but I had still given a good account of myself in the fights I had lost. So you could see where the promoters had played their part [in building her as a star].

Emotionally, I was always the same before my fights but I was a little more apprehensive for this one because it was in her own backyard where nearly all of her fights had taken place, it was live on TV with an audience of millions and a win would get me back in the picture. But I had boxed in someone else’s backyard before plenty of times and [if it was close] they would always give it to them.

The atmosphere was brilliant. It was in the theatre where Roy Jones beat Montell Griffin and where Arturo Gatti fought Micky Ward [first fight]. It was a little bit hostile but it was to be expected because it was always that way for the Brits going over there, but by about round eight the crowd turned in my favour.

I had sparred Danny Butler, Chris Long and Tex had me doing lots of fast work in training. It was the summer so we did lots of hill running, fast punching so I could be non- stop for 10 rounds and that’s what we did. We were non-stop for 10 rounds. I was just so fit. When I watched the tapes afterwards Vinny Pazienza was commentating and he said, ‘Jane Couch is a machine.’ And that’s what I was for 10 rounds.

Afterwards I was offered more fights in the USA and Europe and I got a lot of recognition, more from abroad than here [in the UK]. I had proved I could still really fight and that I was not just going to stay in England and be protected. It helped my career massively. I won two world titles at 35 years of age.

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