Johnny Nelson recalls opponent’s heavies bursting into changing room to get belt back

When Johnny Nelson won the cruiserweight world title at the third time of asking, he absolutely refused to let it go.

On paper one of Britain’s most unlikely champions, Nelson went into his challenge against Carl Thompson in 1999 with a record of 31 wins, 12 losses and a draw.

Johnny Nelson recalls opponent's heavies bursting into changing room to get belt back

Nelson won the WBO title

However, Nelson was on a run of six straight victories having rebuilt under Brendan Ingle.

He upset the odds by stopping Thompson in the fifth round and burst into tears of celebration.

Nelson spoke to talkSPORT extensively about the fight as part of the ‘Fight Of My Life‘ series which continues this Sunday at 8pm.

He then told the story of what happened in the aftermath.

Johnny Nelson recalls opponent's heavies bursting into changing room to get belt back

Thompson was floored and then stopped by Nelson

“I went into the dressing room afterwards,” Nelson began.

“Carl sent a couple of his boys in to say, ‘Carl wants his belt back.’

“So they’re stood there, it’s like a Mexican standoff.

“They’re in the dressing room, the belt’s in front of me and I’ve just beat their mate up.

“So they’re thinking, ‘Do we get the belt or not?’

Johnny Nelson recalls opponent's heavies bursting into changing room to get belt back

He held the belt until retiring in 2005

“Brendan [Ingle] ever the diplomat said, ‘Johnny it’s alright, let them take it, it doesn’t mean anything.’

“I’m like, ‘Bren, I’ve just won that!’

“He said, ‘Let them take it, you’ll get another.’

“I’m looking at him as if to say, ‘You’re joking.’

“Honestly I had the belt in my hand, I had it in the dressing room, it felt so sweet.

“And I thought, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t give it [to] him.’

“So I didn’t give it [to] him.

“I can see Brendan’s trying his hardest to divert World War III because Carl’s got some tasty friends outside.

“I went, ‘No Bren, I can’t.’ I just couldn’t let go.”

Fight Of My Life continues this Sunday at 8pm on talkSPORT – Johnny Nelson discusses his fight with Carl ‘The Cat’ Thompson for the WBO cruiserweight world title.

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