BOXING: Big opportunity pulls Rotherham fighter Lee Appleyard back to the ring

Lee Appleyard in action. Picture by Steel Stream Design.Lee Appleyard in action. Picture by Steel Stream Design.
Lee Appleyard in action. Picture by Steel Stream Design.
BOXER Lee Appleyard is coming out of retirement to have one last shot at glory.

The 35-year-old from Bramley takes on the heavy-handed Jack Rafferty in Liverpool on September 16 for the Silver Commonwealth super-lightweight title, with the chance of a challenge for the British crown for the eventual winner. 

It’s a tough fight against an opponent who has won all 20 of his fights, 11 by KO.

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But for Appleyard, who last fought when beating Dan Booth to win the Central Area belt nearly a year ago, it is one to get the juices flowing.

“I have unfinished business,” he told the Advertiser.

“I held out and held out and the big opportunity has come and I’m rolling with it.

“I don’t make it easy for myself, that’s true, but when I come away from the sport I can come away saying I went in with the best for where I was.”

Appleyard, a former English champion at lightweight, has always been a supremely dedicated operator.  

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This time he has stepped away from his full-time job to put in a full, eight-week fight camp.

“There will be no stone left unturned. It’s the final roll of the dice at the end of the day,” he said.

“I know if I lose this then that will be me done and I’ve promised my wife.

 “I don’t want to retire so I’ll be giving it absolutely everything.

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“I have to give this kid (Rafferty) fair play. He is giving me a full camp and that might be his undoing because I can prepare properly. That is a bonus.”

Not since Tommy Gummer was declared the best middleweight in Britain in 1920 has Rotherham had a British boxing champion.

With current super lightweight Lonsdale belt holder Dalton Smith expected to vacate the title, it leaves the way open for Appleyard or Lacastrian Rafferty, eight years his junior, to have a stab.

Added Appleyard: “I know the history with the British title but I’m not sure anyone (from the town) has won the Commonwealth either.

“100 per cent that is in my thoughts.

"”This all about making history.

“I want to cement my name.”



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