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Boxing Athlete – Robin Reid
EVER since he was an eight-year-old lad sparring at Runcorn Boys Boxing Club, Robin Reid dreamt of winning a world title. At the age of 21, the Sutton Park youngster could have been forgiven for thinking that in slogging his way to a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics, he had reached the highpoint of his pugilistic career.
But not once did the former Gorsewood Junior School and Brookvale Comprehensive pupil lose sight of his ultimate goal, and in September 1996 he realised his dream by beating Italian Vincenzo Nardiello for the WBC Super-middleweight championship of the world.
A searing left hook to the ribs in the seventh round left Nardiello reeling in a bout that no-one thought Reid could win. Nardiello had won the WBC crown by beating Sugar Boy Malinga six months earlier and had been a hot favourite to beat the under-rated and little-known Reid.
Robin defended his WBC crown three times. He floored South African Giovanni Pretorious in the seventh with a fierce right hook at the London Arena, in February, 1997, and won a 12 round points decision over Britain’s highly rated and hard-hitting Henry Wharton at the Nynex Arena in Manchester three months later.
The Wharton fight was a gruelling and brutal encounter and is still considered to be one of the best British fights in recent memory. It put pay to the rumours that Reid was just a pretty face and earned him respect from boxing pundits.
A third defence against Hassine Cherifi took place at the Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes in September, 1997, and once again Reid showed he could go the distance by scoring another 12 round points victory.
It seemed that Reid had the world at his feet and he was voted British Boxer of the Year in 1997, but just months after receiving the accolade it all went horribly wrong.
What should have been a quick defence against Thulane Sugar Boy Malinga in December of 1997 ended in disaster as Reid put in a lack-lustre performance and lost his title to the South African journeyman on points.
IT was time for Reid to reflect on what went wrong and to prepare his comeback. A sixth round win over Graham Townsend in April 1998 paved the way for a shot at the WBO version of the Super-middleweight title, which was now held by Joe Calzaghe.
The Welsh champion, who had an impressive record with a high knock-out percentage, was confident in the lead up to the fight and convinced that he would blast Reid out of the ring, but the reality was very different on a cold February night in Newcastle, in 1999.
Calzaghe enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, but Reid turned the tide and put in what is probably still the best performance of his career, taking the cocky champion through a gruelling 12 rounds and finishing the stronger.
Reid was convinced that he won the fight, and so too did one of the judges, as Calzaghe was awarded a split decision.
Despite losing the encounter, Reid had furthered his reputation as one of Britain’s finest and when he was refused a rematch with the Welshman, he chose instead to go after the WBU version of the title.
A terrible display against Silvio Branco at Hampden Park, in June, 2000, saw the Reaperman beaten on points and at the age of 29, it looked like the final chapter in Reid’s rags to riches story.
AFTER spending six months out of the ring, a revitalised Reid returned to fight for the vacant WBF Super-middleweight title at Crystal Palace. A first round knock-out of Mike Gormley saw the Reaperman regain his world champion status.
Reid has defended his new belt three times against Russian Roman Babaev (round 3 TKO), South African Soon Botes (round 4 TKO) and Argentinean Jorge Sclarandi round 3 TKO), and at the age of 30, is looking sharper than ever.
Still under the wing of veteran trainer Brian Hughes, Reid remains bent on regaining his former and more prestigious WBC title.