Stephen Simmons: I have the heart of ten lions

Stephen Simmons (right) and Wadi Camacho in action
Stephen Simmons (right) and Wadi Camacho in action
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Edinburgh boxer Stephen Simmons made it a perfect ten in his professional career by retaining his WBC International Cruiserweight Silver title with victory over Wadi Camacho.

It did, however, take every one of the ten rounds at Braehead Arena on Friday night to finally overcome his London-based opponent, who proved more than a match throughout the bout.

The clash was eventually brought to a halt by referee Richie Davies in the tenth and final round with Camacho looking dazed and confused on the canvas after Simmons had dealt his rival a series of blows to 
the face during an explosive 60 seconds.

Labelled the grudge-match on the Ricky Burns ‘He who Dares’ show, a fight Burns lost on points to Dejan Zlaticanin of Montenegro, the feud between Simmons and Camacho erupted six months ago when the former was subjected to a torrent of abuse from the Spaniard via social media.

However, the two embraced one another upon the conclusion of the clash, a complete contrast in behaviour from the previous day’s weigh-in where they had to be pulled apart as a fiery exchange threatened to boil over.

Simmons, for the first time, was complimentary in the aftermath of Camacho, saying: “He boxed very well. It took me a while to get going as I felt sluggish. I was trying to load up too much.

“I’m not taking anything away from Wadi’s boxing as he boxed well. It took me a while to get into it but I systematically broke him down and tired him out.

“We just said respect (afterwards), let’s draw a line as we’re both fighters and we need to look at the future and get on well. He wants to see me and my wife and apologise. That’s fine by me. I am happy to meet him and hear him out. He tried to get under my skin and that is okay, but it became far too personal and out of order.”

Former Scottish world lightweight champion Jim Watt, now a commentator on Sky Sports, had expressed throughout how he felt Simmons had allowed his feud to affect his low-par performance in the early rounds, an opinion that didn’t look out of place as the Edinburgh fighter struggled with his approach and composure. But going into the remaining three rounds with the anticipation Camacho would still be ahead on points according to the judges’ scores, Simmons’ corner, particularly trainer Danny Vaughan, ensured the 29-year-old knew coming out just what was required in the closing stages.

“I felt as though I needed the last round,” Simmons explained. “Danny told me I could stop him. I’ve got the heart of ten lions and it showed as I burnt him out come the last end.

“I am proud of myself that I didn’t lose my cool and let him affect me. But my corner told me I was losing the fight and needed to pick up the pace.

“I don’t know if they were saying that just to get me going but I had too much heart and desire to lose.”

Camacho was efficient in the opening phase, the southpaw using the jab to great effect while Simmons appeared too eager with his attempts to land a big blow early on.

However, the Capital star gradually came to the party and connected with his opponent with two big right hands before Camacho fought back, looking the more energetic and finding success with some crucial body shots.

But the fitness and meticulous preparation taken by the Simmons camp prior to the fight really paid dividends as a tremendous final three rounds, especially the accuracy of his shots, left referee Davies with no choice but to bring the contest to a halt with Simmons 
prevailing.