By Paul Mason (@PaulMason1986)
Erdington, Birmingham’s Don Broadhurst has announced that he will retire after a farewell contest at Villa Park’s Holte Suite on Saturday December 2nd. Tommy Owens promotes the pre-Christmas show, with a few of his prospects appearing on the bill.
The likeable 2006 Commonwealth Games Gold medallist and former Commonwealth Super Flyweight Champion, will hang up his gloves after an 11 year, 24 fight, up and down career. By his own admission, it’s a career that ends with a lot of what ifs, and regrets on how far he truly could have gone with the right management and some good luck along the way.
As Don said himself in an article in The Birmingham Mail this week, “It’s been a tough decision to come to. I guess all good things come to an end, it’s part of life. “I still think I am capable of achieving more in the ring. “But I just don’t want to go back to the drawing board and rebuild again. “I am gutted in many ways because I have not fully got out of boxing what I wanted to. I could have achieved a lot more and even now I know I could. “But it’s such hard work – the training, selling tickets, dieting, boxing as well as being a parent and working full-time. It’s so hard to juggle things. “It’s hard letting it all sink in, heart-breaking really because I am giving up something that I love but I just feel this is the right time to call it a day now.”
After a glittering amateur career, where he represented Team GB, he won the prestigious ABA Title in 2003, and followed that up in Melbourne in 2006, by striking Gold in the Flyweight division. He was one of five Gold medallists for England that year, alongside David Price, Stephen Smith, James Russan and fellow Birmingham man, Frankie Gavin.
This was hoped to be a springboard for success for Broadhurst, and he signed a promotional deal with Frank Warren Promotions, turning professional in September of 2006. He was built up on big shows initially, making his debut in Bolton on a bill topped by the IBF Light Heavyweight Title fight between Clinton Woods and Glen Johnson, and including 2004 Olympic Silver Medallist, and future World Champion, Amir Khan. Broadhurst beat the tough journeyman Delroy Spencer on points.
Two more points victories followed over Kemal Plavci and Ravil Mukhamdiyarov, before Don went in again with Spencer, this time on the massive open air Joe Calzaghe v Peter Manfredo Junior bill In April 2007. Again Broadhurst came through on points over four rounds. He then had two more points wins on an Enzo Maccarinelli undercard in Cardiff over Kakha Toklikishvili, and a step up to six rounds, defeating Gary Shiels on points at the Nottingham Arena on the Amir Khan v Scot Lawton bill. He then produced his first stoppage victory, halting Kakha Avetisiani in Bolton in December 2007.
After a points win over Alain Bonnel at the NIA in Birmingham, “The Don” was ready to step up to Title class, and easily outpointed the Ghanaian, Isaac Quaye, winning every round on two out of three cards at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre to lift the Commonwealth Super Flyweight Title. His first defence was one of his best performances, as he ground down another Ghanaian, in Isaac Owusu, stopping him in the eleventh round in his hometown at the NIA. A defence in Wolverhampton at the Civic Hall was next up, stopping yet another Ghana native, Asamoah Wilson in six. Broadhurst was troubled by a bloody nose received in the first round, but rallied to force Wilson’s corner to throw in the towel.
Broadhurst had been long banging the drum for a domestic dust up with the then British Champion at Super Flyweight, Bristol’s Lee Haskins, and there were plenty of verbals exchanged. He got his wish a fortnight before Christmas 2009 when the pair met at the Newport Centre, Wales. In a maul filled, messy contest Broadhurst struggled to find his rhythm, with the switch hitting style of Haskins, and constant tying up causing a scappy affair, that Haskins won unanimously on the cards. This was a setback for Don, and further trouble was to follow, as Najah Ali, with a 3-2 record at the time, outhustled and outpointed Broadhurst for the International Masters Title at Bantamweight to hand him back to back defeats, and leave his career in reverse. At this point Don split with Frank Warren, and gained a measure of redemption for his career by reaching the final of the Super Flyweight edition of Prizefighter at the Liverpool Olympia in October 2011. After wins over Usman Ahmed and Mike Robinson, Broadhurst ran into old foe Haskins in the final. It was to be a far more entertaining contest this time, over the three round distance, but Haskins was far more clinical, dropping Don twice in the second round before triumphing widely on the cards to lift the trophy.
Seven months later Broadhurst had temporarily relocated to Australia, and had one fight in Brisbane, stopping Anan Saeauy in four rounds. It would be another 18 months before he was seen in a ring again, beating the tough Brett Fidoe over four at Villa Park, before re-matching him for the Midlands Area Super Flyweight Title and winning on points, this time over ten. Broadhurst attempted to challenge domestically again, this time at Flyweight, and was unlucky to only earn a draw against English Flyweight Champion Louis Norman in Whitwick. After a points win over Stefan Slavchev, Broadhurst met Norman again on an Eddie Hearn show in Birmingham in October 2016. This time the English Super Flyweight Title was on the line, and Broadhurst was on the right end of a split decision win.
After a going through the motions win over Craig Derbyshire in April this year, Don got an unexpected shot at Bantamweight, and British Champion Josh Wale at the Manchester Arena on the Joseph Parker v Hughie Fury bill last month. Don gave a great account of himself, and was more than competitive in the fight, before slightly tiring, allowing Wale to take over and knock him out in the penultimate round.
Thus this now brings an end to his career, but he will go out on his own terms, and in front of his own fans. He will fight at his beloved Aston Villa, in the Holte Suite of Villa Park on December 2nd against an opponent to be confirmed. It’s something that he has expressed a desire to do, as he didn’t wish to go out on a loss, and it also gives him an opportunity to thank the fans that have followed him throughout his career, amateur and professional. Don was always a big ticket seller and this one is expected to be a sell-out. It’s a career that has sadly stalled due to injury, bad luck and inactivity, but still with a wealth of accolades to his name. At 33, now seems the right time to bow out, as the career of a lighter weight fighter is always a relatively short one. He will now aim to go into training the new generation, and pass on his wealth of knowledge to young prospects starting out. “Boxing is a special sport. It can help turn any life around said Broadhurst. It made me a better person. I got to travel the world, met lovely people and even rubbed shoulders with celebrities and royalty. “So I really want to pass my experience on to someone else and help young lads who might not have any direction. “Boxing can give lads a family, give them morals and respect – lots and lots of things.” It would be good to see Don put all of his career experiences to good use, and I wish him well in his retirement…… after December the 2nd of course!
Tickets for the show can be purchased at:http://www.topboxing.co.uk/