“The Highland Warrior” George Stewart is thrilled to become the first boxer from Inverness to win a professional title – and says he always felt he was on course for glory.
The 21-year-old – who is coached by dad Bruno, having come through the ranks as a youth at Laurie Redfern’s Inverness City ABC – defeated Dundee’s Charlie Doig after seven pulsating rounds in Alloa Town Hall on Friday night to become the Scottish super-featherweight champion.
Friday’s clash was a cracking contest between the two rivals, with cuts above both eyes leading the referee Kevin McIntyre to rule Doig out – meaning the glory belonged to determined and ambitious Highlander Stewart.
Stewart, who started boxing when he was just 10, explained how he always felt in control of the showdown, with most of the big moments coming from his hands.
He said: “I had Kevin Anderson, ex-British and Commonwealth (welterweight) champion, doing my corner and he had the game-plan down to a tee. We were all pretty confident when we went in.
“The ref stopped it in the seventh round as both Charlie’s eyes were cut open.
“I was landing the cleaner and heavier shots and I felt I was the stronger fighter.
“I came in lighter than him, but I almost put him down in the third and fifth rounds and then it was stopped in the seventh.”
Dad and coach Bruno sensed glory
Stewart was delighted dad Bruno was there to see the drama unfold.
He said: “He was helping out in the corner, so, although he wasn’t telling me what to do, he was there telling me ‘you’ve got this’ – so he still had a massive part to play.
“We have felt, right from the start, it was the right course for me. It’s a case of onwards and upwards from here.
“The next challenge is probably to take on a couple of smaller fights before hopefully going for another title after that.”
𝑨𝑩𝑶𝑼𝑻 𝑳𝑨𝑺𝑻 𝑵𝑰𝑮𝑯𝑻…
Congratulations to George Stewart as he becomes the new Scottish Super Featherweight champion with a stoppage win over Charlie Doig in last nights main event! pic.twitter.com/xGHzlFmbBD
— St Andrew's S.C (@StAndrewsSC) November 4, 2023
‘My phone’s still going with messages’
Returning north as a national champion meant the world to Stewart, who has been bowled over by the reaction.
He added: “We are all really proud. Seeing what it means to everyone – it’s been an emotional roller-coaster.
“There was a really good backing for me. I had 11 people at ringside down from Inverness. I also had 15 people from my manager’s side, as well as a few family members, so I was well supported.
“We’re in Monday now and my phone is still going with messages. It’s been great.”
And to win the title in his first pro contest away from Inverness didn’t faze him.
Stewart shaped up for his title shot with a no-nonsense victory against Miguel Zamora at the Drumossie Hotel in the Highland capital last month.
He said: “My first five fights had been at the Drumossie, but I still felt comfortable fighting away from home. It was a really nice venue at Alloa with a really good atmosphere.”
First coach Redfern was also delighted to see Stewart emerge victorious, adding: “I’m made up for George and I’m sure all of Inverness is delighted to see him win this title.
“It’s brilliant to see.”