Boxer Nathan Graham said years of hard work paid off when he finally landed the Southern Area Title that was rightfully his in Essex on Saturday night.
The former Mandeville School pupil said he is ‘over the moon’ after beating Kris Agyei-Dua in their big rematch, stopping him in the fourth round.
Graham was roared to victory by a legion of loyal fans from his hometown as he lifted the coveted belt aloft, the proudest moment of his career so far.
First he popped Agyei-Dua’s shoulder out with a right hook .
And after the ref allowed the home fighter to recover and have it popped back in place, Graham followed up with a flurry of punches to finally finish his opponent off .
It comes two months after first beating him in the original “drawn” bout, after which even Agyei-Dua admitted the Aylesbury man should have won.
Humble Graham put his victory down to ‘hard work and dedication’ and was quick to thank everyone who has believed in him along the way.
“This proves that hard work pays off,” he said.
“I obviously feel very good right now and I like to be true to my word, I said I’d bring a title home and I’ve done it, so I’m over the moon.”
The fighter, who used to play football for Aylesbury United and Aylesbury FC, says the title will now give him more clout when arranging future fights.
“It’s a good bargaining tool,” he said.
“I’m in a strong position to go for titles now and it could lead to European title and even Commonwealth title fights so that’s good.”
On the fight itself, the 30 year old said he had too much for Agyei-Dua in the end.
“We both threw a right at the same time and I caught him on the shoulder and it popped out. The ref gave him about 40 seconds to recover and have it popped back in (in boxing fighters should only receive a 10 second count).
“But I leathered him straight away and left him slumped in the ropes.”
The former West Ham youth player admits boxing and training can be a lonely existence and is glad to have some end product to show for the hours and hours of training that ‘people don’t see’.
He also paid tribute to all those who have helped along the way in his title quest.
“Thanks to my dad (Michael) and uncle (Ibraheem) who put the time in with me in the gym.
“Also to Pegasus and Nuffield for their facilities and everybody who turned up on Saturday. They might have been outnumbered but they were the loudest by far.
“And just to everybody who has believed in me and that I could achieve something like The Bucks Herald, which has always been there and been supportive. A big thank you to everyone,” he added.