Being a journalist and a boxer couldn’t really be more polar opposite jobs. But one thing they do have in common is that many people do them for the love, in and around their normally ‘day to day’ working lives.
So due to clashes with work shifts and personal commitments, for the first time in my writing career, I interviewed somebody whilst they were out jogging.
Darren Tetley, a 9-0 (5 KO’s) welterweight Bradford born and based southpaw, barely seemed to be out of breath as I spoke to him about his career and life. Like many people, films were what first attracted him to the sweet science.
“I was watching Rocky, and I said to my Mum, I am going to do that. And they started laughing at me and said you won’t do that. They thought I’d get bored or my temper would get the better of me and I’d pack it in. But when it did get hard, I used to think about that. I proved them wrong.”
“My hero growing up was Ricky Hatton. [I liked] the way he fought and also how he is out of the ring. He’s humble… I’m humble. Of course you are completely different when you get in the ring.”
This interest soon translated its self into a real passion.
“[As an amateur] I had 71 fights. Won 60. I won the national title three times; I won a gold medal in the three nations and a silver in the commonwealth youth games”.
After turning over from being an amateur to pro, Darren has racked up 5 KO’s (knockouts), suggesting that with over a 50% KO ratio, he can mix it up with both boxing and fighting.
“I think, I’m not a one punch knockout kind of man. But with the power I’ve got, I think I can break people down. I suppose I’m a pressure fighter. The way my family are, who I grew up with, we do like a bit of a fight, so when I’m in the ring, I don’t want to dance around. I want to get stuck in for the fans. Maybe it’s in my DNA. I’ve been brought up fighting.”
At only 22, Tetley has a long way to go in his career but he remains focused, dedicated and humble.
“I say it a lot, but it’s true. I’ve got further now than anyone thought when I first started. People didn’t expect me to last a month. So, where I am now, I am more than happy. In 18 months, I’d like to have some sort of a title, whether that be an area or even an English title.
“If you get the opportunity, like all fighters, we will take that. But for me personally, I’d rather do it the right way. I’d rather fight a few more 6 rounders, and then an 8 rounder. Then when I step up for a 10-12 rounder, I’ll be used to it. If I get beat, I’ll get beat by the better man.
“Like any fighter, you want to be a world champion. But that’s a typical answer. For me, it’s a personal thing to get as far as I can. I want to get to where I can get. Where that is now, I can’t really say. I might fight somebody who lost for a British title and only just beat them, and I might think that a British title is my aim. But I have to gauge it as I go.”
In a sport where trash talking often results in undue publicity, it’s refreshing to speak to such a reflective character.
“My family stood by me and took me training. I want to make my family proud and the people of Bradford proud and I’d be happy with that. I have always said I’m not in it for the money. I’d love to walk through Bradford town one day and people ask for pictures and autographs. People saying I’ve done the city of Bradford proud. That’s my world title, once I’ve done my city proud, I’ll be happy.”
Last month, Darren beat Poland’s Sylwester Walczac by a TKO in round 4 at the Metrodome in Barnsley. His latest win follows a points victory over the tough Jamaican Mark McKray on the under card of Josh Warrington’s victory over Joel Brunker in September this year.
“It was unbelievable. When you go to the weigh-in and Martin Murray and Tony Bellew are there. It felt as though, yes I’ve made it! I sold 250 tickets myself. The atmosphere for me was just unbelievable. It was the biggest stage and fight in my career.”
For anyone who wants to support Darren as he progresses, please contact him on 07564210960 for tickets to upcoming shows. He also wanted to thank his sponsors, Tan-Tastique salon in Wibsey, Direct Building Products, Garth builders, AAskips.com and AHIGA, a Bradford based glove and fight apparel producer, who have helped support him along the way. You can follow Darren on Twitter @daztetleyboxing. The Urban Echo team would like to wish Darren all the best and we look forward to supporting him in future fights.