Lee Reeves [5(4)-1(0)] admits he was more surprised with his own performance than that of supposed journey man Artur Davydenko [2(0)-5(0)] on Saturday night.
The light welterweight prospect suffered shocked defeat on an MTK Fight Night in Newcastle, against an opponent that all paper readings suggested he should beat and look good against.
However, most that watched the fight were not long about realizing the Ukranian in the away corner had a lot more about him than your average journey man.
Davydenko didn’t just show an abundance of ambition, but showed he isn’t lacking in ring craft, skill or even power.
His performance raised fan eyebrows with most stating he looked more a gate keeper to the gate keeper’s of this world than journeyman.
It wasn’t that Reeves was out classed, but it did look like he was caught off guard with the challenge that was in front of him.
However, to his credit the Limerick fighter claims that wasn’t the case and point out he was more disappointed with how he performed rather than impressed with his rivals innings.
“The only surprise I got in that ring was with myself, not feeling sharp, not been on the toes and not firing at will. All things that can be a 180 turn around with a couple weeks of good sparring,” he told Irish-boxing.com.
“I felt heartbroken [after the fight], just wanted to be alone. I felt I let myself and all my fans down with a stuck in the mud performance that was not the Lee Reeves we all know.”
“Yes he definitely wasn’t coming to lay down and could box like 95% of Ukrainians can with their boxing system. But I still know I was levels above the guy. It just took me 3 rounds too start letting my shots go.”
While Reeves isn’t looking to divert blame, he has had time to reflect on why he didn’t produce the kind of performance that has seen him impress in Canada and indeed Madison Square Garden.
The 25-year-old, who did look impressive in parts and showed the kind of grit that stylists are often accused of lacking, admits he wasn’t at the level that earned him praise from the likes of Tyson Fury and Kell Brook and he now thinks he knows why.
Reeves feels a lack of sparring may have cost him his duck egg. The prospect was training in the Wincobank Gym founded by Irish boxing legend Brendan Ingle and hints that there preference for body over opening sparring among other things may have hindered his chances.
“I think it was a lot of things,” he responds when asked what may have gone wrong.
“A lack of open sparring in training, from it changing from a 6 rounder to a 4 rounder last minute, also been under a new coach [Dominic Ingle] who I couldn’t find from weigh in day to just before the fight. I had a different type of stress wondering what’s going on and who’s gonna wrap my hands and lots of different thoughts a fighter doesn’t need to be stressing about close to a fight. But this is boxing, things go wrong.”
Saturday was meant to be Reeves breakout performance on this side of the Atlantic. Boxing closer to home he brought a lot of support to Newcastle and was hoping to impress.
When things went wrong he felt he had let that following down, but they quickly rallied behind him and eventually enabled him to take solace in the fact he got up off the floor and showed fighting spirit to come back and win the last round.
“After the fight I felt like I gave a shit performance and let all my fans down and lost a lot of fans,” he adds.
“Then I received a lot of messages saying how exciting it was to see me get off the canvas – which I have to say wasn’t a proper knockdown- and have a war. They said I showed heart and will to convincingly win the remainder of the fight,” he adds before giving his opinion on the baring of balls.
“The fact that I had to prove my balls and heart this early in my career is something boxers don’t usually have to do after 5 or 6 fights. But now that I have, the fans will know I’m willing to die in that ring every time. I fight to entertain and give a good account of my family and my people.”