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Boxing: I want to go on to bigger things -Roy.


COVENTRY'S Roy Rutherford is looking forward to the chance to cash in on his British featherweight title success after finding that persistence really does pay off.

Rutherford, who turns 30 in August, made his belated move into the big time when he stepped in at short notice last month to beat defending champion Jamie McKeever. Having taken more than five years to reach the top, the quietly spoken Rutherford does not intend to waste his new found status.

He wants to clean up on the domestic front, win a coveted Lonsdale Belt outright, and then look to fresh challenges.

Rutherford, whose title success was even more of a surprise as he combines his ring career with working nights for TNT in Coventry, said: 'All I want to do is take each fight one by one and win the Lonsdale Belt outright.

'Then hopefully I will be able to go on to bigger honours,' added Rutherford, who has been pencilled in to make his first defence on July 25 against an as yet un-named opponent.

Rutherford, who has 16 wins and just one defeat from his 18 fights as a professional, has had to get to the top the hard way.

He had to take 13 months out of the ring to find a job and start earning some money before he could begin to concentrate on his ring career.

Rutherford said: 'I have got to say a big thank you to TNT for giving me a fortnight off to train for the fight.

'It was the biggest fight of my career and being able to concentrate solely on the contest is a gesture which I fully appreciated.

'I've now been working regularly for the last five months and I've been training regularly as well. Having a weekly wage coming in has certainly helped me a great deal.

'As a result, I have been able to plan my training on a more regular basis.

'I knew that time was not on my side and that I had to take the chance when it was offered to fight McKeever.

'This was a chance that I was determined to take and now I can't wait to see what the future holds for me.'

While Rutherford's determination played a key role in his title success, he also owes a lot to Birmingham's hit factory. He trains at the successful Lynch gym in Birmingham and his title success made it a magnificent seven for the Second City camp.

Rutherford became the seventh British champion in the last 18 years to emerge from the gym of Tommy and Paddy Lynch and trainer Don Acheson.

He followed in the footsteps of Tony Willis, Kostas Petrou, Pat Cowdell, Lloyd Christie, Hugh Forde and Robert McCracken.

Rutherford added: 'I might also get a picture of myself in the gym now alongside the other champions!'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2003
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