JJ Bird took a massive step towards his target of bringing major titles back to Peterborough with a stunning upset win in Bethnal Green on Friday night.
JJ Bird took a massive step towards his target of bringing major titles back to Peterborough with a stunning upset win in Bethnal Green on Friday night.Bird was set to box Daniel Herdman at the York Hall, but a late switch meant he ended up facing David Walker, a former challenger for British, Commonwealth and European titles rated number 15 in the country.
And the the Peterborough boxer came through the toughest test of his promising professional career with a 39-38 points win from referee Ian John-Lewis after a cracking four-round battle.
The win was on a bill televised by Sky Sports and will take 21 year-old Bird soaring up the domestic rankings.
Bird chalked up his fourth win in six fights (one draw) and said: "It's the first step on the ladder.
"I had a decent amateur career, but wasn't a national champion, so I know it won't be easy to work my way up the rankings.
"I know I have to take fights like this at short notice if I want to get to the top.
"But I train hard and took my chance.
"I knew it would be a tough fight and that I was taking a big step-up. But I knew I could win if I performed at my best.
"I went out there and did the business against an experienced fighter and, hopefully, this will open a few doors for me.
"I want to be boxing on big televised shows and I'm not bothered about who I have to fight.
"A lot of boxers want to be protected and pick and choose their opponents, but I just want to get out there and fight.
"I've got the belief in my ability and I train hard."
Bird is trained by Gary De Roux and said: "I've got a great team around me.
"Gary was British champion, so he knows what it takes to get to the top and I'm planning to get there as well.
"I know there are still things to work on, but I believe I'm progressing."
Bird was held to a draw by unbeaten former amateur star Tommy Heffron in his previous fight and Walker had boxed at a much higher level in a 29-fight professional career that included winning the Southern Area title at 11 stones.
But he couldn't handle Bird's smooth jabbing and movement.
Bird, cheered on by former Phoenix ABC clubmate Tariq Quaddus, started confidently.
He did take a right in the opening round, but held on until his head cleared and got back behind his jab to leave Walker bruised under his left eye at the end of the opening session.
Walker, a rugged, come forward fighter from Bermondsey, was forced to give ground in the second as Bird let his shots go and a flashy left-right-left late in the round kept him in charge at the halfway point.
Bird was the sharper in the third as well – coming off his toes to drive Walker back with a right uppercut.
Walker answered the bell for a fourth with a flurry as he set about wiping out the points deficit, but Bird matched him blow for blow in a thrilling finish.
Bird is looking for a sponsor and can be contacted on 07835 924908.