8th May 2012


Ciaran Gibbons from interviews Welsh boxing legend, the former featherweight world champion Steve Robinson. Steve was the modern day Cinderella Man wining the world title on only 48 hours notice in 1993 and defending the title 7 times. He lost his title to Naseem Hamed in 1995. 

Steve Robinson Profile from the fantastic website www.johnnyowen.com
As his nickname suggests Steve Robinson’s story is of fairytale proportions. With a none too impressive record of 13 wins 9 defeats and one draw in 23 fights there was nothing to suggest that Steve Robinson would ever attain World Champion status.

World & European title beltsA dedicated and committed boxer he might have been, but a World Champion ? No one epitomizes the phrase ‘if a chance comes along you should grab it with both hands ‘ more than this young Welshman.

In an enthralling encounter where fortunes swayed to and fro Robinson proved his mettle by taking the title on a points decision against his more experienced and proven opponent. Davison had tried all he could to dispose of his gritty opponent, but try as he did Robinson kept coming at him scoring all the while. With only two days notice Steve Robinson had achieved his dream, he was the new WBO World Featherweight Champion ! Not only did he become World Champion but he proved he was a worthy champion with 7 successful defenses of his title. 

In April 1993 the World Featherweight Champion, Ruben Palacios of Colombia, was scheduled to defend his title in the U.K. against the Englishman, John Davison. However, the champion failed a HIV test during the week of the scheduled fight, leading to his title being immediately stripped from him. This placed the promoters into turmoil, there were only two days to go to the fight and another opponent to face Davison, for the now vacant title, had to be found and quickly. Frantic phone calls were made until eventually Steve was contacted and accepted the once in a lifetime chance to fight for the World Title. The odds on perforated paper of this happening were slim making it a surprise. Of his last seven fights Robinson had won 4 and lost 3, could he become a World Champion and an accomplished one at that ? YES, he could. 

From his humble beginnings working in a storeroom in Cardiff, without question Steve Robinson had proved himself truly World class. 

In September 1995 Steve accepted a World Title challenge from Prince Naseem Hamed which was to end his reign after two glorious years. The new sensation in British boxing, Hamed totally dominated the fight; he was simply too fast, too unorthodox and hit too hard for brave Robinson who was ko’d in eight rounds. The Cinderella Man was never to aspire to such heights again. A challenge for the European title, in 1997, also ended in defeat. Steve then put together a string of 9 wins and 1 draw in his next ten  fights before challenging for the European title again. This time he was successful with a points win over John Jo Irwin, and became the new European Featherweight Champion. Unfortunately, six months later Steve lost his European crown, in his first defense, to Istvan Kovacs and a subsequent challenge for World honors, against Cassius Baloyi, also ended in defeat. 

Another challenge for the European featherweight title, in May 2001, was to end in disappointment with a defeat over 12 rounds against Spaniard, Manuel Calvo, in Madrid. At the end of the year Steve turned his attention to the British & Commonwealth titles but was to suffer his worst defeat in a title challenge when he lost, TKO’d 3rd, to Scott Harrison. 

Steve Robinson, former Featherweight Champion of the World, decided to retire after suffering his sixth loss in a row. He made the announcement following his points defeat, over 8 rounds, to Steve Conway, in Huddersfield, on Saturday night (April 27th 2002). 

Steve had moved up to super-featherweight for the fight and had been confident that he could do well at the new weight declaring that he felt stronger with the few extra pounds. However, with Conway taking the decision Steve wisely decided that it was time to go. 

As with most boxers the Cardiff fighter probably stayed on longer than he ought to have, but Steve Robinson has done Wales proud and been a great ambassador for the country proving himself to be a great fighter and gentleman, always behaving with dignity wherever he went.

He will, of course, always be best remembered for coming from nowhere, with just two days notice, to take the vacant World crown with a points decision over the much fancied John Davison, back in 1993. He then went on to prove that he was indeed a worthy champion  with 7 successful defences of his title during his two-and -a-half year reign. 

Steve said afterward, “I don’t want to end it this way but there you are – it’s happened.” I’ve seen the great heights and I’ve some fantastic memories but I’ve beaten better men than Steve Conway and I just think it’s time to call it a day.” courtesy of www.johnnyowen.com 




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