Father of four from Paston wins bareknuckle fight with Peterborough boxing legend Cello Renda in his corner

Cello Renda has discovered a sport that’s too tough even for him!

From the left, Cello Renda, Callan Harvey and Giorgio Mundo.
From the left, Cello Renda, Callan Harvey and Giorgio Mundo.

Boxing fans were thrilled by the Peterborough gunslinger who fought his heart out in a 44-fight professional career that brought him Southern Area honours, regular appearances on Sky Sports and the backing of ring legend Ricky Hatton.

Renda hung up his gloves three years ago to concentrate on his successful Boxing Futures initiative and also helps trains some fighters.

Callan Harley is one of his pupils at the Peterborough Boxing and Fitness Academy in Woodston and Renda was in the 35 year-old’s corner when he made his bareknuckle boxing debut at London’s O2 Arena.

Bareknuckle boxing is a fast-growing sport and fans in 52 countries around the world saw Harley outpoint Jamie Oldfield over three rounds.

“That is a hard sport,” said Renda. “There are a lot of cuts and knockouts in bareknuckle boxing.

“I’m not sure my hands would have lasted very long. They gave me enough trouble when I had gloves and hand wraps protecting them!”

Harley revealed why he took the fight at only a few days’ notice.

“I got my pro boxing license last year,” he said, “but because of covid, I didn’t get any fights. I got a fight in Brighton in September, but the show was cancelled. I didn’t want all the training I’d done to go to waste and thought: ‘If there’s another lockdown I might end up retiring before I get the chance to fight.’

“I’ve always been a fan of bareknuckle, so I messaged the promoter and said: ‘If you get a slot on one of your shows let me know’ and he got back to me.

“I just thought this would be for me and decided to go for it. “I’ve always been a deep end kind of guy!”

Renda used his experience of boxing’s big time to guide Harley through the fight.

“I told him before the fight: ‘He’s just as nervous as you are, so don’t let him settle and get confident, take it to him,’” revealed Renda.

“I told Callan to use his jab and not to hold his feet. You don’t want to give them a chance to hit you in a bareknuckle boxing match!”

The father of four from Paston boxed to orders, repeatedly landing his jab and barely taking a punch as he won clearly on the judges’ scorecards.

Harley added: “The promoters must have been impressed because they asked me to fight on the next show.

“It was a great experience and the fighters were so good to me. People think you must be insane to be a bareknuckle fighter, but everyone I met was really humble and supportive.”