GISBURN-based trainer Kevin Maree has described Kenny Anderson’s British super middleweight title success as “monumental”.
The 29-year-old Scot extinguished recent inconveniences to fulfil a burning ambition to claim the Lonsdale belt with a fifth-round stoppage over former world champion Robin Reid at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena.
Anderson’s dream shot took some time to materialise after Londoner George Groves withdrew from the scheduled bout on two occasions, firstly in March after sustaining a back injury during sparring and then again in September after suffering a cut against Francisco Sierra.
Eventually, the British Boxing Board of Control stripped the 24-year-old of the domestic strap leaving Anderson to take full advantage of the vacancy on the undercard of Kell Brook’s world title eliminator success against Hector Saldivia.
Maree, who enticed Anderson to Stirk House in 2009 from his base in Edinburgh on the recommendation of Barry McGuigan, said: “Kenny’s been with me for three-and-a-half years now and this was always our objective so we’re delighted.
“Groves pulled out a few times which was hard on Kenny because he’d put the hard work in, done his job, then he was being pulled back.
“But I knew on Saturday all that would be a factor in his performance and we were obviously chuffed to bits about it.
“It was surreal finally getting hold of that belt and bringing it back to the area. The victory is monumental, absolutely huge.”
Despite pundits criticising Anderson’s sluggish start to the contest, Maree stood by his gameplan which paid dividends.
The 34-year-old, from Nelson, admitted his plan was to frustrate Reid early on while taking minimal risks to keep the veteran at bay.
“I know Robin personally because I used to train Michael Gomez who is close friends with him,” said Maree.
“We wanted to frustrate him early on because his temperament affects his boxing.
“Robin is a big hitter so we knew he’d be dangerous early doors.
“We planned to keep everything at length so he couldn’t hurt us then we could step on the gas later on as Kenny has the stamina.”
Maree, who became the youngest trainer in the country to have a British champion, added: “People have said that Kenny should have done more early on but we didn’t want to take that kind of risk when there was a British title on the line, there was no need for us to gamble.
“We wanted to break him down as the fight would have been 50/50 if Kenny had traded with him.
“We weren’t prepared to do that. Eventually Kenny upped his work rate, threw his bombs and got the KO in the fifth round without a mark on him. It was a great win and nice reward for all our hard work.”