Determined WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards makes first defense of title
By John J. Raspanti
Charlie Edwards sat in the middle of the ring shedding tears of both joy and despair.
Edwards had fulfilled his boyhood dream of winning a world championship after entering the title fight an underdog. Most experts figured a loss was inevitable-similar to the one he suffered in 2016 when he first tried to win a belt.
Then, Edwards was punished and stopped in 10 rounds. The loss gutted him. He was so embarrassed after the bout, he avoided eye contact with strangers. He went on a vacation, hoping nobody would recognize him.
Some told him to hang up the gloves. Edwards was already there. He thought his career was over. Eventually, he shook off the funk with the familiar "What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger." He had to get back to the gym.
Edwards had also made a promise that he had to keep.He was fighting for much more than a title. He was fighting for his mom, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer two years before.
Her courage inspired him. Though weak, she planned on attending the fight.
He was back in the ring two months later, winning by knock out. Two years ago, he captured the vacant BBBofC British flyweight championship in Glasgow, Ireland.
Edwards won four more fights in a row, when finally, the call came. He’d be facing powerful Nicaraguan Christofer Rosales December 22 at O2 Arena in London, England.
Rosales was coming off a body shot knockout of Irish hero Paddy Barns. He had won the title by stopping Daigo Higo. Power was his game. As stated, Edwards was a solid underdog. The British announcers, not known for their impartially, spoke softly about Edwards, as if they were at a wake. Edwards had scored only six kos in his 13 wins.
The thinking was he wouldn’t be strong enough to deal with Rosales. But strength can be more than physical. Perhaps the ringsiders had forgotten about the heart and determination Edwards had shown in his only loss. He hung in despite the beating he as taking. The guy is a fighter.
Plus, a promise is a promise.
Edwards was crisp and efficient from the opening bell. He used his quickness to keep Rosales off balance, and popped him with counters whenever the opportunity was available. He dealt with a cut on his hairline, and felt the power of Rosales on a couple of occasions, but was soon back in control. The decision appeared obvious. While waiting to hear his name as the new champion, Edwards was already in tears. He kept looking over at his mother, in a wheelchair at ringside. As his name was announced as the winner, Edwards dropped to his knees.
After composing himself, he said.
“‘That’s for you, Mum. When she was ill, she told me to never give up on my dream. That’s for my mum."
“I’ve had a lot of doubters,” Edwards said. “You should never have doubted me.”
Edwards will be making the first defense of his WBC flyweight title this Saturday against Angel Moreno at Copper Box Arena in London, England.
Moreno (19-2-2, 6 KOs) is a five-foot-six-inch tough guy from Spain. He’ll be fighting Edwards, as well as Edwards’ hometown fans.
“I am not scared about the hostile atmosphere that will greet me in London,” Moreno said in an article by Scott Christ of www.badlefthook.com “I have fought away from home in Ukraine and France, and I am a 35-year-old man."
Edwards is anxious to get back in the ring.
"I want to go down as a great, and this first defense is going to be a really good one. I’m really looking forward, and excited about this fight. Angel Moreno is a very good fighter.
"I don’t feel satisfied. It’s (winning the title) made me hungrier. "I want to unify the division and build a legacy. The hard work really does start now. It’s hard getting there, but it’s even harder staying there, so I’m completely focused on what’s next.”
His mom is determined be at the fight as well.
She’s shown Edwards what a real fighter is.