Akeem Ennis-Brown has declared ‘I am the new king’ after winning the British and Commonwealth titles against Phillip Bowes, writes Ollie Young.
‘Riiddy’, as he is known to his fans, outworked his opponent to win a messy fight by unanimous decision on Wednesday in Wakefield. Both fighters were cut during the bout and Bowes was deducted a point for holding as the fighters’ style cancelled each other out.
However, despite the scrap being hard to score, Ennis-Brown was rightfully awarded the win on all three judges’ scorecards to become the first fighter from Gloucester to win the belts.
Speaking exclusively to The Independent, he revelled in his new champion status. He said: “I am ready to defend my crown and kingdom because I am the new king and I will defend it against anybody. A while ago, we were talking about being the most avoided fighter, now everyone wants to fight me.”
Going into the fight, the fighters’ southpaw styles had been cause for concern about how much of a spectacle the bout would be due to the clashing nature of their approaches.
However, after a cagey first few rounds, both boxers began to get to work with Bowes having the better of the early rounds and continually landing a booming overhand left to the Gloucester man’s right temple. The 24 year-old insisted however that he know over the distance, he could beat Bowes.
“Going into the fight, we knew he was going to try and hold on to me and we knew that I would be able to outwork him and he wouldn’t be able to keep up with us all the way through the fight and eventually id make him quit,” Ennis-Brown said.
“Obviously he was trying to win, so looked to hold but once the referee gave him a warning for it, I was able to go back to work again.”
Back to work is exactly what the challenger did, using his jab to take control of the fight through the middle rounds.
The fighters clashed heads during the fight and Ennis-Brown had to be checked by the doctor to see if he was it to continue in a moment of concern for his coach Jon Pitman but the youngster insists it made for a more interesting event.
He added: “Instead of having it all my own way, it worked better with us both getting cut and it going back and forth, I think people enjoyed it. I could have easily have had a one-sided win but you don’t get the respect for that.
“Phillip Bowes is a great fighter but if I had gone in there and just won every round, people wouldn’t have said ‘Riiddy is good’ they would have said ‘Phillip is bad’ so I guess it shows how much of a good fighter I am to win.”
The new champion revealed that in the aftermath of the win, he has already had people from Gloucester telling him how inspirational he is. His home-town is close to his heart and he hopes his success can help to drive the next generation to make something of their lives: “It’s a good feeling to bring the belts back to Gloucester, others have challenged for it but have fallen short so to do it, is a great feeling and I did that, no one can ever take that from me,” he remarked. I have already seen lots of kids sending videos trying to box and that’s a good feeling. We’re all crabs in the bucket just trying to get out and this can be a way to do that, I just want to show people they can get out if they don’t give him and resist when the hard times happen.”
Ennis-Brown intends to have a week’s rest to enjoy his victory and his upcoming birthday before he returns to the gym as he looks to secure a big name in his next fight when he defends his new belts.