It is sometimes said that a defeat can be the best thing to happen to a young fighter. The nice, shiny 0 at the end of the record might disappear and the sense of invincibility is shattered but – in the long run – coping with the loss and working out exactly why it happened can provide far more benefits than reeling off win after win against outmatched opponents. That is certainly how Lyon Woodstock (12-1, 5 KO’s) thinks.
“I had to go through these trials and tribulations. What you’ve gotta understand is that the most successful people in the world are the ones who have failed the most,” said Woodstock, who faces 32Red ambassador Zelfa Barrett for the Commonwealth Super featherweight title this weekend. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
“Everything has already been written and scripted. I was meant to lose to Archie Sharp. It was already written. From the moment I was born I was meant to lose in the ring that night. It’s all part of the process and what has to happen. For me to get where I want and get what I’ve always asked the universe for, I had to take the loss. It’s really changed me as a man, a person, and a fighter. It really highlighted a few things to me and raised my eyebrows a lot.
“Now, moving forward I’m a different animal. I’ve always been a different animal but I’ve evolved. I’m a different breed now.”
Woodstock and Barrett may be two of Britain’s most exciting young fighters, but both suffered defeat in 2018. Woodstock got up off the floor to give Sharp all he could handle but the Londoner still took his unbeaten record last October, while Barrett was upset by Ronnie Clark in February. Woodstock is supremely confident that of the two, it is he who is better equated to deal with the defeat.
“I genuinely think it’s just my mindset and mentality. The way my mind works and my perception of things. My brain is very unique,” he said.
“I don’t mind, man. Whatever happens, happens. I’m fine with it. I’m just gonna go in there and have some fun on Saturday. It doesn’t really matter. Win, lose or draw, nobody really loses in my mind.
“I always said that if I got put down I would get back up and give the guy the fight of his life. I always said that I’d keep coming and keep my head held high. Everything I’ve ever said since I started this boxing, I’ve lived up to. There aren’t many fighters who can say that.”
He is telling the truth. Since the very start of his professional career, Woodstock has not only sought out the toughest challenges, he has sprinted headlong into them. He has already featured in a series of crowd pleasing Fight of the Year contenders but that kind of schedule doesn’t lend itself to a long career. His trainer – Ajmal ‘Hudge’ Butt – has the almost impossible task of harnessing Woodstock’s enthusiasm and aggression, but he is the one person who’s advice the 25 year old will take on board.
“The thing with Hudge is that he’s never tried to change me. Lyon Woodstock is Lyon Woodstock. Whichever way I’m leaning, he’ll go with it but he’ll always highlight my flaws and we’ll work to get rid of them. Even if my style starts to change, he’ll flow with it if he sees it’s beneficial and if it’s for the better then we go with it. In my mind, he’s the General. He’s Papa Hudge and what he says goes.
“I’m like a little dark horse. I’m slowly coming up from the shadows. People have seen little glimpses but nobody has seen the real Lyon Woodstock yet. That’s my secret weapon. The reason they haven’t seen the best Lyon Woodstock is because not even I have found him yet. Once I do find him, it’s game over for everyone.”
On Saturday night, Zelfa Barrett will be the next person to get a glimpse of the new and improved Lyon Woodstock. If the Leicester man is to be believed, no amount of time spent studying video or attempting to replicate his style in sparring will help as not even he knows what he might be capable of at his very best.
“My bar of potential is so high, I don’t think I can see the limit yet. There’s no ego behind this, it is what it is. A lot of these fighters, we’ve already seen what they can do and how far they can go but with me, it’s a mystery. Nobody knows. Only Hudge has seen everything and he calculates everything. Have you ever seen that film with Jim Carrey where he goes mad with numbers [Number 23]? That’s like Hudge.
“He works everything out and he’s always telling me what I could be. I used to think that maybe this guy is deluded and just thinks way too much of me than he should but over the years and especially recently, I’ve started to understand what he means and I get it more. Because I’m starting to understand, I’m starting to see things in a completely different way.”