Austin ends 12-year search for glory with points win
16th April 1998
Reading Evening Post
By CLIVE BASKERVILLE
AUSTIN DARCY’S 12-year search for glory was finally realised on Saturday night when he lifted the BIKMA version of the British middleweight title in front of his own fans at Club Tropicana in Chatham Street.
The 29-year-old Reading roof tiler, who received a little help from Sonning psychic Uri Geller, narrowly outpointed defending champion Lee Clark of Plymouth over five punishing two-minute rounds.
It was a case of third time lucky for Darcy, who had drawn and lost to 26-year-old Clark in their previous two encounters.
Now Darcy is taking a week’s break from work at his home in Northumberland Avenue to celebrate a success that’s still sinking in.
He told me: “Every bone in my body aches, but it’s all been worth it. Winning this title means everything to me.”
“When they presented me with the championship belt afterwards I felt so emotional. I grabbed the microphone and paid tribute to my dad (Mick) and the fans because I did it for them.”
“My dad is my best mate as well as my trainer and he always had faith in me. It was Mick who made me take up martial arts when I was only four and a bit of a tearaway.”
“And it was also my dad who made me persevere at sport when I was 17 and threatening to give up. I still remember that talk 12 years ago. He told me then to keep training because one day I’d be a champion – and now he’s been proved right.”
Darcy, who switched from karate to kick-boxing when he was 20, also had to overcome plenty of self-doubt on the way.
And Geller’s the man who gave him the edge in that department.
Darcy went on: “My dad trained my body and Uri helped get my mind right. He gave me the confidence I lacked and some self-belief.
“Although Clark was fine, and even bought me a drink afterwards, some of his friends could hear Uri giving me a pep talk before the fight and were taking the mick about it.”
“But that only made me more determined to win.”
The contest proved every bit as tight as everyone expected with Darcy taking it on a split decision by just one point.
Yet things didn’t start too well for him.
The doctor was called into the ring at the end of an all-action first round after Darcy received a cut above his right eye.
The wound, which needed three stitches afterwards, was cleaned and he was given the all clear to carry on.
At this stage Darcy had another attack of self-doubt.
He said: “Clark was a lot stronger and fitter than before. My pre-fight plan went out of the window and I said too my dad ‘he’s too strong for me and started panicking.
“But my dad told me I was doing okay and that Clark was just as tired as me.”
Darcy looked tired again at the end of the fourth and it was at this stage Geller earned his corn.
Darcy’s mum Connie said: “I’m a Catholic and I’ve never really believed in all this psychic stuff. But I’m convinced he gave Austin that little bit extra in the last round to win.”
“He came to his corner and told Austin to focus and that he could do it. I then watched Uri on the side and, as he threw a right into the air, so Austin did in the ring which connected with Clark. And the same thing happened when he threw a left upper-cut. It was quirky.
“Austin afterwards told me he didn’t know where he got the extra strength from in the last to win, so it looks like Uri did his bit.”
And Austin admitted: “Having Uri there definitely made a difference.”
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