A rising Plymouth boxing star will have his next bout televised to the nation after being invited to fight at London’s O2 arena on a show being broadcast by Channel 5. Constantin Ursu, who moved to Plymouth three years ago, raised eyebrows when he stopped opponent Josh Hodgins inside 90 seconds in his last contest – despite giving away 10lb in weight.
The first round TKO, at Bethnall Green’s York Hall, was the first stoppage of Ursu’s professional. The win clearly won him some admirers, as he has been invited back to the capital for the Wasserman Boxing show on Friday, May 13.
The former Moldovan welterweight national champion has also shown his dedication to Plymouth, and paid tribute to one of the city’s most famous boxers, with his nickname: The Dynamite Kid. That is a nod to Scott ‘Dynamite’ Dann, who was Commonwealth Middleweight champion and on his way to a world title fight before a car accident halted his career in 2006.
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Ursu is coached by Marlee Dann at Intense ABC in Burrington Way, who said: “They have basically seen the fight against Josh [Hodgins] and they were impressed in the manner that Constantin did it. It was quicker than anyone else has done it, and he was giving away 10lb in weight, so it was one of those things that he just obliterated him and they thought ‘who’s this kid?’.
“He’s a Southpaw and even though his record is four fights and three wins by points, he carries extraordinary power, and the problem before has been the transition from being an amateur and trying to out-point people to actually taking people out.
“I think something happened to him in his previous fight against the Mexican kid, where he realized it’s not amateur boxing, it’s not in a small hall in the middle of eastern Europe, it’s a live event which people have paid to see, and he you have got to perform and get a crowd reaction – and entertain. He said to me before the Josh Hodgins fight ‘I’m just going to go for it’ – and that’s the kind of thing that he has got to do to get noticed.”
Ursu, still only 22, had more than 120 fights as an amateur, and won all but a handful of them. He won silver and bronze medals fighting for Moldova at the European Championships in an outstanding amateur career, but Marlee said he has now realized his professional prospects also depend on his ability to entertain.
He said: “He had a fantastic amateur career and would out-box people to the point where the referee would give his opponents standing counts from where he was punching them so much, and although he had power, he was only boxing over three two -minute rounds, so you don’t really get the opportunity, when you’ve got the headguards and the bigger gloves.
“But now he has come to an understanding that he has to go out there and entertain, and he’s absolutely loving it. It’s woken something up in him.”
Ursu has also chosen his nickname to show his desire to follow in the footsteps of Plymouth’s last national boxing champion. Marlee – who is cousin to Scott Dann – explained: “He’s been learning about Plymouth for the last three years and he was asking about the last champion to come from Plymouth, so we all turned around and said ‘Scott Dann’.
“So he’s gone off to get his phone and watched a couple of clips of him on YouTube, and he starts reading his information, and then turns around and says ‘I know my nickname’. So we said ‘what is it’ and he said ‘The Dynamite Kid’ – he said ‘he was Southpaw and I am Southpaw, he was champion then and I’m going to be champion now’.
“He said that he’s got power and he wants to represent the city, and using the word Dynamite is out of respect. I thought it was brilliant and what a respectful thing to say to the city and to a former champion.”
He added: “I spoke to Scott about it, and he said that everything he was hearing about him made him sound special, and that he can’t wait to watch him.”
Ursu’s fast-growing reputation as one to watch has also earned him a huge amount of support from businesses, with Mark Harrad of Synergy Chartered Accountants offering to pay expenses so that the boxer is able to train full time.
Marlee said: “The support I’m getting from everyone in Plymouth is unbelievable – the sponsors are just coming out of everywhere and wanting to help him, it’s been amazing to see. Mark [Harrad] has been unbelieveable – he’s turned around and said any expenses he will get, and loves what I doing with Constantin and believes he is going to win a world title.
“It’s amazing to have Synergy backing him, but it’s been great the amount of people who have wanted to support him. This one fight we’ve had 25 people wanting to sponsor him.”
The support has meant that Ursu has been able to spar with the likes of IBO Continental Super Welterweight champion Abass Baraou and WBA International Welterweight champion Josh ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly.
Ursu has also touched gloves with Harlem Eubank – the cousin of Chris Eubank Jr – who is also due to appear on the card at the O2. Marlee said that his protege de ella has also fallen in love with Plymouth, and wants to represent the city with pride in the boxing ring.
“He’s been in England for four years and has been all over the country,” he said. “He’s been to London and Manchester, but he just adores Plymouth and think it’s one of the most beautiful cities he’s ever been to. He loves the lifestyle in Plymouth and loves the sea and the beaches which are close to Plymouth.
“Moldova is landlocked so for him to go down the road and walk by the sea, or go for a run up to the Hoe and around that, he loves it.”
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