Shropshire Star

Kirk Stevens has the eye of the tiger with Rocky-esque triumph

Through lips crimson with caked blood, Kirk Stevens – winner of the wild shoot-out that was the Top Boxer tournament – declared: “That was a Rocky, Rocky moment.”


As a fighting tale of one man grabbing victory against seemingly insurmountable odds, it certainly ticked all the boxes.

The fighter who came from nowhere is now £8,000 the richer – his lion’s share of the £20,000 cashpot on the table.

Telford southpaw Stevens entered promoter Tommy Owens’ eight man, multi-thousand pound welterweight tournament at 48 hours notice following a late withdrawal.

He was the only boxer to step into the ring at Solihull’s Planet Ice with losses on his record, having registered just one win in four.

He was, at 33, the oldest competitor.

And to add to the drama, Stevens was initially declared the loser of his semi-final bout, before it was announced an error had been made. The wrong man had his hand raised.

The above is certainly the stuff of Sly Stallone scripts. Stevens has emerged as Shropshire’s Cinderella Man.

On the night, there were more technically-gifted competitors, but none displayed the underdog’s level of determination and fighting heart.

The stats underline the measure of Kirk’s achievement. On a night of high drama, seven fighters lost their '0'.

“I’ve got the heart of a lion,” Stevens beamed in the dressing room. “I didn’t do much as an amateur and as a pro I’ve been fighting on the road, which is fine. It’s all money. Tonight I beat three undefeated lads.

“Hopefully, they can get me out again in a couple of weeks. There was no pressure on me tonight and I felt comfortable in there.”

Clutching the gleaming Top Boxer trophy, he added: “This will get me noticed and get me a bit of sponsorship.”

Stevens certainly made a compelling statement on Saturday. He refused to lose, even though two of his three fights on the night – all over the three-round distance – were desperately close, split decision affairs.

The final, against Derby’s Taylor Greig, was won on old-fashioned bottle. Stevens clearly lost the opening session, as Greig used the ring and pocketed points behind a smooth southpaw jab.

From then on, Stevens, grazed over the right eye, simply refused to lose. He bulldozed forward, pinning Greig to the ropes and whaling away with both hands.

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t tidy, but it was effective. Greig, drained from his previous bouts, simply covered up in the face of Stevens’ storm and threw too little leather back. At the final bell, he knew he’d blown it.

Stevens – a man who came from nowhere to grab glory – celebrated as if he’d won a world title. He has ignited a career that began with a knockout loss and seemed destined to consign him to the role of journeyman.

More importantly, Stevens starred on a night that he’ll be talking about in his dotage. Kirk’s grandchildren are in for one hell of a tale.