SINCE RELOCATING FROM ENGLAND TO TOOWOOMBA DARREN ASKEW has bided his time, re-vitalised his career and turned plenty of heads along the way.
Now he has his shot to grab a prized belt – a WBU light welterweight title. Askew will take on Kiwi national champ Anthony Taylor in Tauranga New Zealand with the winner awarded the vacant title.
It’s a belt Toowoomba fans would be very familiar with. Michael Katsidis won the title when he defeated Graham Earl in Toowoomba. Katsidis has since relinquished the title preferring to move back to lightweight. Askew now has the chance to be the second Darling Downs fighter to win the strap if he can go into Anthony Taylor’s backyard and earn a victory.
“I’m excited to be going in to the lions den and taking on a tough fighter in Anthony Taylor,” Askew said. “I love a challenge. I have great self-belief that I’ll return home with the WBU title.
“I need to say a massive thanks to Brendon smith for helping create this opportunity. We’ve worked exceptionally hard together over the last three years to get in to this position, I couldn’t do it without him.
“I have a great team around me, helping me prepare and giving me moral support. I also have to thank Steven Spark, since he’s turned to training he’s been a huge help to me and a great asset to myself and the rest of the team at Smithy’s TGW gym.
“I’m also thankful to the WBU and the promotional team for giving us the opportunity to go over to New Zealand. I will make the most it.”
Askew has been a sensation since arriving in the Garden City with a moderate record of 6 wins and one draw from 13 bouts.
He’s reeled off eight victories among them a Queensland State title success over Mark Ramirez and a Victorian state title victory against Matthew Lytwynenko in Melbourne.
“We talk about Jack Asis as a fairytale and rags to riches story – it’s not a stretch too far to put Darren in the same category,” Brendon Smith said.
“He had a fifty fifty record when he walked into the gym and was keen to re-establish himself and realise his potential.
“He’s certainly done that. He’s gone from an unknown in the country to now being a fighter not many want to face.
“In the last twelve months it’s been difficult to find him opponents.
“Evidence of that is when he fought New Zealand’s Daniel Roy Maxwell at 70kgs when he’s a natural super lightweight.
“From the first day he training in our gym I dubbed him the beautiful boxer. He had so much talent and he was such a beautiful mover in a boxing ring.
“To his credit he has worked very very hard and deserves this shot.
“It’s a tough ask to go into anyone’s backyard and win a title – but I believe Darren can beat Anthony Taylor.
“He deserves a title like this – now he has his shot, I’m sure he will give it his best shot,” Smith said.
Anthony Taylor boasts a pro record of twelve fights for ten wins and one draw. He is the current New Zealand National welterweight title holder.
“I respect Anthony Taylor, he’s a good fighter,” Askew said. “However I have faith in my ability and I believe if I fight at my best I can win this fight.
“I will give it my best shot and I will train accordingly. I’ll be 110% come August 22.”
Askew is currently in full training under the guidance of Steven Spark and Brendon Smith.
“Darren is coming along really well,” Steven Spark said. “He’s showing some great signs in the gym and we need to transfer that from the gym to fight night.
“Taylor is a big challenge for Darren but I believe it’s a challenge he’s more than equal to.
“We’ll get some great sparring for Darren in the lead up to this fight.
“We’re blessed with so many talented fighters around the featherweight to welterweight limit so we will have no shortage of sparring partners.
“You can see the fire in Darren’s eyes at the moment – he really wants this,” Spark said.