Old school Woodgate primed for Camacho

Paul Zanon
05/02/2016 9:08am

Whilst publicity for Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg reaches fever pitch for their world title encounter on 27th February, down south, Dan Woodgate and Wadi Camacho will prepare to square off for the Southern Area cruiserweight title, headlining a massive 21 fight spectacle at the UK’s Mecca of small hall boxing, the York Hall.

Boxing Monthly (BM) caught up with Dan Woodgate, several weeks ahead of the showdown.

Having entered the boxing game at the ripe age of 22, Dan boxed 21 times as an amateur before making his debut as a professional at the age of 26 on 27 February 2010 – the very same day and month he fights Camacho.

BM was interested to establish the reasons as to why Woodgate entered the prize ring so late in life. “I was overweight! I used to weigh 18 stone and wanted to lose weight,” said Woodgate. “Despite having one of my great grandparents and my granddad who were decent fighters, I don’t come from a long lineage of boxing blood.”

Woodgate turned professional as a light-heavyweight, but after 11 fights, as he moved up in class and rounds, he started to realise he’d also need to move up a weight division. Woodgate explained. “When I fought James Tucker over 10 rounds for the International Masters title, I was struggling to make the weight at light-heavy. That aside, he was tough as old boots! He cut my eyes open in the first second and third round and took me into the trenches. I chipped one of my knuckles during the fight. Tough night’s work.”

Woodgate then fought for the light-heavyweight Southern Area title against Leon Senior on 20 September 2013, losing a close points decision. The night also signified that the battle to make light-heavyweight was a step too far and he moved up to cruiserweight.

“I’ve been over 13 stone ever since I was about 12 years old. I’ve always been a big kid. I’ve got big legs. In fact, all my family have big legs! When I was training for Leon Senior, I was running eight miles, four days per week, in addition to sprints and training. I was putting all the work in, but the weight just didn’t want to come down. I knew it was time to move up to cruiser.”

As he prepares to meet Wadi Camacho, BM asked Woodgate what he made of his opponent. “He’s a good fighter. He won the Prizefighter competition, which says a lot about him as a fighter. When you enter a competition and everyone else is well up for each fight, and then you win three fights on the same evening - that is a great feather in his cap.

“However, every time he’s stepped up, similar to myself, he’s been beaten. On paper, he’s the favourite going into it without a doubt. But I’m not worried about that. He’s got five losses on his record, a few of them by stoppage, whereas I’ve only lost twice, both by close points decision.”

With a near five inch height advantage and higher KO ratio, Camacho will be expected to dominate the battle of the jabs and possibly win by stoppage. Woodgate, however, is confident in his ability and his training camp thus far. “I’m an intelligent boxer. I don’t go in with my head down and just throw punches, I’m constantly thinking about what I need to do during the fight. I pick my shots really well, have good footwork and I’m pretty quick.

“The training camp is going really well. I started before Christmas to make sure I get the full 10 weeks in, then when I hit the eight week mark, I stepped it up again and now, with four weeks left, it goes up yet another level. In the last three days, I’ve sparred 16 rounds with some decent cruiserweights and have to say it’s going really well.”

Promoted by trusted manager and promoter of six years Mickey Helliet, and currently trained by Ian Burbedge, Woodgate explains that the driving force behind his training. “I’m self-motivated. I don’t need people on me all the time. I get myself up, go down the track on my own, do my sprints and runs, then hit the gym. I’m too scared of losing not to put the work in. It’s a great motivation.”

Woodgate expressed to BM his level of hunger to meet Camacho at the York Hall, but also expressed that he wants to ensure his way of doing so in the public eye is not misinterpreted. “I’ve been chasing Wadi and Goodwin Promotions for this fight, but not in a malicious way. I just want the fight!

“I’m an old school boxer and come fight night, I’ll be the first person to wish him luck and give him a round of applause as he enters the ring. But once the bell goes, despite all the respect I have for him, it’s business as usual. I don’t intend to lose.”

Last words from Woodgate to Camacho, “Just turn up, Wadi!”