I WOULD say my best fight was against Ricky Hatton but I would say my best performance was when I won the British title against Lee Meager. Lifting that British title after 14 years was the proudest moment I could ever dream of. When I first turned pro my old man said to me, before the first fight I had – it was in December 1992, I think it was December 9 – and my dad said to me, ‘If you do anything in boxing try and win a British title, that would be an absolute dream.’ Fourteen years later, more or less to the day, I lifted that Lonsdale Belt after three attempts and 14 long, hard years. I lived my dad’s dream of doing that and that was a hell of an achievement.
Graham Everett was my trainer for the fight and he had lots of DVDs of Lee Meager before that fight and whenever I phoned him up he was at home watching them, coming up with gameplans A, B, C, D, E and, if we needed it, F. He was so passionate and wanted me to win as much as I wanted to win.
I knew Lee was good. I certainly knew he could take a shot and I thought it was going the distance, or that it could be a late stoppage because he marked up. I thought if I bust his face up we could keep boxing and I would try and knock him out, but I was prepared to go 12 rounds.