After quietly serving his time during a thorough four and a half year, 15 fight professional apprenticeship, Bradford’s feted former amateur star Darren Tetley is threatening to explode to national prominence at Leeds United FC’s Elland Road stadium tonight.
The slick 24 year old southpaw trades leather with fellow unbeaten starlet Mason Cartwright from Ellesmere Port with the WBO European Welterweight strap – and a possible world ranking – serving as the bounty.
‘It’s been steady but now I’m ready!’ quips the 5ft 11in scaffolder who penned a deal with Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren 12 months back.
‘It’s been very hard to entice decent opponents to take a risk against a tall undefeated southpaw and I’ve slipped under the radar. I’m very underestimated, largely unknown as a pro.
‘But I’m coming off my career best win against (7-3) Terry Needham. On paper, he was my toughest test but I flattened him twice (winning by spectacular stoppage in round two). Now I crave the big fights.’
Tetley’s life as a fighter has followed a steady upward curve since he first laced on the leather mitts at the callow age of 10.
He recalls: ‘I was a short-tempered kid. I remember being sat on the settee with my step dad watching Rocky IV and I told him: ‘I’m going to do that!’. He just laughed.
‘Believe me, when I started out at the Karmand Centre gym I was absolutely useless. I think I lost five of my first 10 but finished with 71 amateur bouts yet only 11 defeats.
‘All I set out to do was to box for England and, once I’d achieved that at 17, I seriously contemplated calling it a day.
‘But I continued to win three national junior titles, a Three Nations gold and a Commonwealth Youth silver medal over in the Isle of Man. It dawned: ‘You might be on to something here, kid!’ I beat some good lads like (13-0 pro super-welter prospect) Joey Pigford in my first CYP final, then (recent Commonwealth super-lightweight challenger) Jason Easton in my last amateur bout.’
Inside the professional ring, the neat and organised left hander has logged six stoppage wins and, in the nine fights that have lasted the full course, has surrendered only a single round – to the Czech Republic’s previously Tomas Bartunek way back in March 2015.
‘Basically, I’m a southpaw with a very good boxing brain and good accuracy. That’s what has got me this far. Though I’m not really known as a puncher, I know I shock a lot of opponents the first time I strike them clean,’ claims the father of two.
Nevertheless, thus far, the media have been slow to climb on board.
‘To date, I’ve never needed to push myself in fights so no one has seen the best of me yet,’ he continues.
‘Because of my ability, I’ve been able to coast. That’s probably been my downfall. But for this one, I’ve got all the buzz.
‘After dealing with Cartwright in style, I want to wake up next morning knowing that I’ve finally got my name out there, proved I’m ready for big fights; worthy of consideration against the top domestic guys.
‘(Current British champion) Bradley Skeete is believed to be on the cusp of vacating and soon this division’s about to open up.
‘On May 19th I intend to announce myself. It’s time my name started cropping up in others’ interviews.’