WOODSTOCK: "I THOUGHT I WAS DONE"
Lyon Woodstock is currently lapping up the attention that goes hand in glove with a big fight and his hugely anticipated coming together with super featherweight rival Archie Sharp certainly falls into this category. The pair will get it on at the Leicester Arena on October 6, but the prospects of Lyon trading leather with a fellow unbeaten fighter live on BT Sport looked bleak earlier this year when he collapsed in a heap in the ring of his gym and was forced to wonder what the future held for him while suffering excruciating back pain. Lyon takes up the story in his latest Fighter Diary…
FIGHTER DIARY BY LYON WOODSTOCK
IT WAS LITERALLY the same old, same old when I got to the gym and started warming up. The funny thing about this story is that we spent longer than we usually do warming up, putting proper attention on it and Hudge (trainer, Ajmal Butt) had me doing this, that and the other.
I got in the ring and I wasn’t sparring, just shadow boxing with a partner. I was moving around, I slipped to the left, my back twinged and I collapsed on the floor.
I was on the canvas for about five hours waiting for the ambulance to come. I was immobile and I have never felt pain like it in all my life. It was horrible.
They said it was a severe trapped nerve and it must have been mightily severe because I have been through all kinds of pain before and I deal with it well. It felt like someone was squeezing my back and it was contracting.
I always compare myself to Wolverine because I heal so quick and, after a week and a half, I was back walking and washing myself. I had to get help with everything before then and I couldn’t wash or anything.
After resting and eating good I was back on my feet and a week after that I was training and Hudge helped me rebuild my back from scratch. We started from base doing little things without weights, then I would add a little bit more and we built back up.
I remember my first spar after and it was good to go through that because mentally it is all strengthening. I will take any challenge on, any badness that happens in my life is all positive because it gives me the opportunity and chance to be a better me and grow into the level.
I was worried at the time and thinking about whether I would ever be able to box again. When I was lying on the floor for all that time I had a lot of time to think!
I was thinking ‘is this it?’ and ‘am I done now?’, then ‘where am I gonna go and what am I gonna do?’.
Hudge was just so lovely in coping with the situation, he went home and got me blankets, pillows and everything that I needed. He gave me water that I couldn’t drink by myself because I was flat on my back.
He ended up carrying me out of the gym and put me in the car eventually after the ambulance came and said I needed to get home. He looked after me like I was his own child.
Once I was back up and running it was a case of building towards a fight at Elland Road in May. Before I was getting ready for a decent fight then obviously my back went and I needed to get my confidence back.
That is the biggest part, you lose confidence in that part of your body and just don’t know how it will respond. Anyway, we got a date and a steady workout against Edwin Tellez and then, all of a sudden, I start hearing that Mr Archie ‘not that’ Sharp is chatting bob saying ‘we asked for this fight, they declined it bla bla bla’.
Listen, what did he want me to do? Actually if I was allowed to fight him lying on the floor I would still have taken it, somehow.
Nobody has ever called me out really. Even in the little spat I had with Mitchell Smith he wasn’t calling me out, so this is the first guy trying to talk my name.
I was like ‘ok, let’s get it on then’. I said a date for the Leeds show because I knew I was on it and thought ‘f**k it, come on then’ and he was like ‘no, no, no, we’ll do it in September’.
I was like ‘you’ve spoke my name now’. I am like the Candyman, you say my name three times and I’m gonna come and get you!
But he was still on about September and I thought alright, fine, and left it at that. Now, here we are going to have a fight in early October.
There really has been no history here, just him calling my name and that is what you get from these privileged boys, who like to do that.
I just see it as another challenge, another moment for me to show everyone who I am and prove to everyone that I am the real business and I will be here for a long time as well.
I haven’t seen a lot of him fighting but I have seen enough of him. How I see it is that my natural, typical style beats his every day. He is going to have to pull something special out of the bag to beat me.
I keep hearing about his time as an amateur but that doesn’t mean sh*t. If you want to bring up stuff that I was doing at 16, what relevance does it have now?
We’re in the pro game now and, really, you don’t want to know what I was getting up at 16!
What we are doing now is big boys sport, a man’s game and only the grown-ups will survive, so we will see.
It is a good match-up though that people like to see and it is what I got into boxing for – the big fights, the big stages, the big crowds, big money, the glory, everything.
It is what I am here for. I ain’t got no qualms and we will see how he handles himself. I don’t disrespect anyone, but if he chats any sh*t with his little pencil neck, he will drop himself in it. Don’t dig a hole and then jump in it!
The fight takes place at my house in Leicester and I told him that from the start, but the boy wouldn’t listen. He said it would be in London and I thought ‘cool, it will give me more bragging rights beating you at your own house’, but Miss Universe works in a funny way and I know she has always been on my side.
It is on my turf now. It was great last time there and I can’t wait to do it all again and then celebrate before moving onto the next one.