UTTOXETER scaffolder Reece ‘Rampage’ Jones has been crowned a heavyweight champion less than a year into his boxing career after a points victory at the weekend.
Roared on by hundreds of Uttoxeter fans who came out to support him, Jones had to dig deep to outpoint Lewis Donnelly over four action-packed rounds at the King’s Hall in Stoke.
The victory brings Jones the EBF Under- 10 bout Midlands Area heavyweight championship and the crowd-pleaser is expected to defend his belt at the same venue on Friday, November 30.
Jones is now unbeaten in four fights and boxing experts say he is showing tremendous promise, with his fast hands causing his opponents trouble and on Friday night he proved he can tough it out.
Donnelly had more ring experience and although smaller, he was willing to take the fight to Jones.
At the midway point in the fourrounder, the fight appeared to be in the balance. Jones won the opener behind his jab, then Donnelly was busier in the second.
Jones had a dominant third. He backed Donnelly up with jabs, then put together fast-fisted flurries and had the better of an exciting exchange just before the bell.
Both boxers were clearly feeling the pace in the final round, but Jones did just enough to snatch a close decision.
The 25-year-old told the Advertiser after the fight he was ‘chuffed’ to get the belt around his waist after months of hard work in preparation for the bout.
He said: “It was a tough fight but it wasn’t too bad and I felt I managed to cope quite well.
“It was a brilliant feeling to put on the belt and it was what the whole 12 months had boiled down to — those eight minutes.
“I just stuck to the boxing and that was what ultimately won it. I am getting better and better at coping with the crowd and the pressure. It was just about sticking to the boxing and what I’ve learned.”
Jones said he was ‘overwhelmed’ to be a heavyweight champion so soon in his still fledgling boxing career and praised the backing he has received from his hometown support.
He said: “It was fantastic support on Friday night. There must have been 400-odd supporters from Uttoxeter out of a crowd of about 1,500 people and I could not do it without them.
“He was a tough opponent who had been undefeated in his six bouts so far so I was chuffed to beat a good fighter.” It was a particularly special night for Jones as he was raising money for a charity close to his heart — the Midlands Air Ambulance.
Four years ago his stepfather’s life was saved with the help of the vital service after a serious farming accident and Jones has been busy fund-raising prior to the fight and donating his fee to the cause.
“We raised about £900 which is great, so I’m delighted to have been able to raise money for such an important charity,” Jones said.