GISBURN-based fighter Kenny Anderson has paid tribute to trainer Kevin Maree after stopping Robin Reid to win the British super middleweight title.
Anderson fulfilled a long-held ambition to claim the Lonsdale belt with a fifth-round stoppage over former world champion Reid at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena.
The achievement made 34-year-old Maree, from Nelson, the youngest trainer in the country to have a British champion.
Anderson opted to leave his base in Edinburgh to link up with Maree at Stirk House in 2009, on the recommendation of Barry McGuigan.
And he believes the decision has paid dividends, with his trainer’s mid-fight advice having a real impact.
Reid, 41, had been competitive in a scrappy opening four rounds before Anderson floored him with an upper cut in the fifth round and then pounced to finish off the fight.
“It feels brilliant to win the British title, it feels surreal,” said Anderson, 29, who is expected to make his first defence of his title against Liverpool’s Paul Smith.
“It’s been built up and there’s been a lot of hype. To get the victory and achieve the things I wanted to achieve is really brilliant.
“It’s heartfelt, I’m really happy that I’ve finally made this step.
“People don’t realise how big an event it has been getting here.
“My life has really been stalled for most of the past preparing for this.
“I’ve sacrificed stuff - parties, first day at school with the kids, birthdays – time that I can’t get back.
“I’m honoured to have been in the ring with Robin Reid.
“The first round was a cagey round, in the second round we were a bit more in control but I went back to the corner and we were starting to look at things we were doing wrong and he was doing wrong.
“Kevin was telling me to work on the body and then the upper cut, which eventually put him down.
“Barry McGuigan recommended Kevin highly and to be honest to start with I was dubious to say the least because of his age.
“But I met up with Kevin in Glasgow, then I came down and tried him out.
“With his training techniques it clicked straight away, and with his mindset and morals I knew there could be a personal relationship built there as well.
“I’ve got a great relationship with him. He’s not just Lancashire’s best trainer but Britain’s best trainer.”