Norwich’s young boxing star Nathan Dale is on top of the world
- Credit: Archant
Norwich's new world champion boxer Nathan Dale is looking forward to a belated birthday party, a reunion of sorts with his family – and a juicy steak for Sunday lunch.
It's the reward for a long training camp that culminated in the greatest night of the 23-year-old's young life when he became only the second boxer from the city to win a world title.
Dale's magnificent win over Belgian Bogdan Galaev at St Andrew's Hall on Friday night earned him the IBF world youth welterweight strap – and ensured the sacrifices were not in vain.
'It's been a long, long training camp,' said the former City of Norwich School pupil, who has now won all 17 of his pro fights.
'But it's difficult to explain how I feel now I have won.
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'So many people have got in touch with me saying 'congratulations'. We have had letters through the door, it's just been an unbelievable reaction from so many people.'
Dale, of Turner Road, has spent his days working at the Kickstop Gym. But his nights for the past two months have been spent with mum and dad, Kevin and Lesley. In between, he has managed to find time to see partner Rosie and their two children, four-year-old Riley and two-year-old Sydney-Rose. One of the sacrifices was to miss Riley's recent birthday, but one of the personal prizes for winning was ensuring the date was celebrated in style this weekend – a double celebration as Dale will be 24 on Friday.
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For a young couple, it is tough, but Dale sees a bigger picture.
'Rosie understands now – and it is because I want to give them all a better life,' he said. 'To sacrifice a couple of months is fine – and I will give them that better life. After the training camp, the weekend agenda did include stuffing myself – I've been wanting a pizza and a nice steak, so that was quickly sorted. But the first thing was to go and see my children.
'My mum and dad have always been incredible, and my sisters – they all back me and they work so hard for me.'
Dad Kevin has seen the sacrifices and the rewards first hand.
'He is so focused that as the fight night draws closer you are walking on egg shells,' he said, with a reluctant smile. 'Say the wrong thing and it can launch him – but once the fight is done, he is back to the lad we all know.'
It was a decade ago when boxing embedded itself into Dale's DNA.
'I went to CNS and I did okay at school,' he said. 'But for a long time my heart was set on boxing. From an early age I wanted to be a champion and the lad on Friday wasn't going to stand in my way.
'I first got the bug when I won my first championship when I was 13, the novices golden belt. It was only my eighth amateur fight. I never expected to win it and I beat a kid from Liverpool who was Four Nations champion and England number one. I knew then I could do something, and I have never looked back.
'It is hard – but that is what makes me hungry. I will be back at work soon, starting my running again.'