By Richard Hubbard
“I think I am ready for a world title this year”
POUNDING THE STREETS of Liverpool doing his bit for good causes proved a costly exercise for the then multi-titled Kevin Satchell.
The rise of Satchell was a rapid one, with the flyweight collecting his first title – the Commonwealth strap – in just his eighth fight and, from then on in, his belt collection expanded over a two year period with British and eventually European honours secured.
There appeared to be no stopping ‘Satch’ and a challenge for the world title held by the Chinese Zou Shiming was on order, but ultimately not delivered due to the IBF king being dethroned.
It was the start if a sequence of setbacks to beset the likeable Liverpudlian, with his participation in the Liverpool half marathon that resulted in the cruelest cut of all, removing him from the ring picture for a year and divorcing him from his treasured titles.
“I think it was my eighth fight I fought for the Commonwealth and then it was defence after defence, always fighting on big shows and everything was going perfect,” reflected Satchell, who returns to the ring on March 12 on Frank Warren’s ‘Tale of Two Cities’ card at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. “I defended my British three times, I had three of the best titles people want to go for, besides world titles, and then it became too good to be true and everything just stopped.
“I had a bit of a drought, so to speak. I won the European title and was meant to defend the European and shortly after hopefully fight Shiming, but he got beat and that is what put that off.
“I then did a half marathon in the April and after that my knee went and it was prolonged getting it sorted, but I think I was ready by the October, I was ready to get back out there and fight, but then stuff happened with a management change and I was stripped of titles. It has been just a long wait after I got my knee injury sorted.”
The marathon itself, like Satchell’s 14-0 career to that point, was pretty much plain sailing. It was a failure to recuperate himself properly after his exertions that cost him dear.
“What it was, I done the half marathon fine, I done a great time, I think an average 7.19 a mile, me and my brother – absolutely felt great. I then walked over to Jazza’s (stablemate Dickens) house and was standing there waiting for Jazza to drop us off. As I turned my knee kind of popped a bit and what it was the muscle had shortened because I hadn’t stretched properly after the run or done any kind of warm-down.
“That’s what made it go, it was fine during the run, then it was just knackered,” he said with a sigh before taking up a turn of events that put his sporting career on hold and saw him rejoin the workforce.
“I went to see Jamie Murphy up in Blackpool, who is a great physio who used to work for Man City. He did acupuncture on it, along with a lot of work, and got me running again.
“It did put a strain on me because I was used to fighting regularly, plus the fact that I like running anyway and it was hard not being able to do my full training. Eventually I lost my sponsors and had to find a job.
“It has been management issues, getting stripped of titles and the knee injury – it has been one thing after another. I’ve finally put it all behind me now, but it has definitely been the worst year of my boxing career and I hope I don’t have another one like it.
“I had to vacate the British to carry on with the European, while the kid I fought last wasn’t from the Commonwealth so I ended up vacating so I could go back for it, then I got stripped of the European. It was all within six or seven months that I lost three titles!
“Like I said, it was all too good to be true before.
“I am looking forward to what happens this year now. After this fight I hope to be out again straight after and hopefully get a world title shot this year.”
Reclaiming his former titles is not a high priority for the 27-year-old now his is back in the fighting fold, with a shot at a world title top of his agenda.
“I think I am above British title level now and I think I am ready for a world title shot. I could get the European title back, it is a lovely belt and a great title to have, but I think I would like to push on now to a world title, I think I am verging on world level now and have got a good ranking.
“I think I am ready for a world title this year.”
A festive fillip for the fighter arrived in an online interview with promoter Warren, who nominated a ring shindig with Shiming for his 2016 wish list. It provided a timely boost for Satchell, restoring him to the sport’s radar ahead of the new year.
“I seen it yeah! It was good, very good, he was going down the list of all these great boxers and fights that are ready to happen, then he mentioned me against Shiming. It was a fight that was meant to happen before and it is good that it is still being thought about and is still a possibility for me in a couple of months.
“He did have a piece of paper in front of him so he had done his homework! I’m glad to be part of his homework though,” added Satchell with a chuckle before assessing the current flyweight charts in this country that has had a couple of exciting entries since he last touched gloves in earnest.
Charlie Edwards and Andrew Selby are the new kids on the block, both outstanding former amateurs who are causing more than a ripple in the pro ranks. Even though Satchell has already trodden the British route, if there is sufficient public demand, he does not rule out future domestic clashes.
“Definitely, it is brilliant now, you had Edwards and Wilton last week, while Selby was great as an amateur and is now doing well as a pro. There are good fights and it is good for the flyweight scene because hopefully we will get noticed a bit more.
“With Selby I think they will do what was done with (Vasyl) Lomachenko and get him straight in the title mix. I’ve not seen him yet so I don’t know how good he is, but I have heard good things.
“It is not just a case of me being levels above them, but if the public want to see fights like that, then they should be made because they are great fights to be a part of.”
Satchell himself wishes to get back on the fast track after a year in the lay-by and wouldn’t have objected in the slightest had his promoter thrown him a similar curve ball to that being gleefully caught by his Everton Read Triangle teammate Dickens who is currently preparing to take on Guillermo Rigondeaux on the same bill on March 12.
The equivalent for an eight-stoner has to be Roman Gonzalez. For Satchell, Chocolatito would’ve gone down a treat.
“I know, I wouldn’t have minded that! Get me any of the world champions, but I have seen a few highlights of Chocolatito and he is like Rigondeaux, very flash and very fast.
“We all want to be in fights like that and that is why it is great for Jazza. We want to be in those fights and that is why we are in this sport. We’re all so close, so the fact that Jazza got one was a buzz for the whole gym.”
It will be a busy night on the Liverpool docks for Everton Red Triangle trainers Paul and Mick Stevenson who have Ryan Farrag and Steven Lewis on the bill, as well as Satchell and Dickens, in support of the headline act of Terry Flanagan defending his world lightweight title against Derry Mathews.
Satchell suspects a knockout is on the cards in favour of Mathews, insisting Scouse solidarity is not colouring his judgement.
“No, I think he’s surprised a lot of people and he’s got that power, Plus it is his last shot, he’s built his whole career up to this.
“It is great for the city again, if the fans are going to see Derry they will get to see a lot more Scousers who they might bump into some time, it is boss, especially for our gym because there are four of us on it.”
A Mathews victory would make it two world champions for Liverpool with Satchell racing to complete a hattrick later in the year. Just not a marathon race this time.