ERIC ISRAEL picked up a shock debut victory and admitted: My parents don’t know I’m a boxer!
The Portsmouth middleweight served up a big televised surprise as he stopped highly-touted Essex fighter William Webber in the third round in London.
It was the 27-year-old’s first pro contest against a decorated opponent who was expected to deliver victory.
But Israel upset the odds, sending Webber to the canvas in the second round at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
The Nigerian-born talent then brought the match-up to a close in the third after Webber finally succumbed to a barrage of hurtful shots.
The display, from the man who’s trained by Michael Ballingall and Colin Williams, put the attention on him on the Sky Sports-televised card.
But Israel revealed his parents back in his native Nigeria don’t even know he’s boxing.
The former Heart of Portsmouth amateur defied his father’s wishes and turned pro, but it was a move which has immediately paid off.
Israel said: ‘I came to uni here and went to a boxing gym.
‘I’ve done my degree and am going to take three or four years off before doing my masters. So I’ve got to give my best now.
‘My parents don’t know I box.
‘I told my dad I was boxing in my first year at uni - and he told me I’d better quit!
‘He was really upset and I told him I wouldn’t box.
‘But he doesn’t know what sport can do for you.
‘It’s given me self-esteem, so I’ve boxed and if my family find out, they find out!’
It may not have been the most refined performance from Israel, but he brought destructive power to the table against Webber.
The first knockdown arrived in the second from a punch delivered with very little leverage, before the end came with Webber under heavy fire from lefts and rights.
Israel said: ‘I must be honest, I didn’t pick my shots well. My trainer is going to kill me!
‘I’ve not boxed since October last year, so hopefully I will get better.
‘But I believed I was going to win. I prayed for that.’
- JORDAN CROSS