Steve Sims

Steve ‘Sammy’ Sims (b. 1958) is a fighter who came from nowhere to become Newport’s own ‘Cinderella Man’.

As a boy, fitness-fanatic Sims was obsessed with weightlifting and martial arts, and he did not box as an amateur until the age of 17.

He was naturally strong and a big hitter, but his 20-fight amateur record was a mixed bag, and the hot-then-cold results continued when he entered the professional ranks in 1979.

The Newport man won all three of his 1981 bouts, though, setting him up for an annus mirabilis the following year.

The stage was set when Pat Cowdell vacated the British featherweight belt, and Sims was pitched in as a late replacement in a title bout against Terry McKeown.

Years of training runs up and down Newport Transporter Bridge paid off as the unknown Welshman stunned McKeown in front of his home fans in Glasgow, stopping the Scot in the 12th round.

Greater glory beckoned, and Sims had dreams of world titles in his head when he travelled to Sardinia to face Loris Stecca for the vacant European crown.

Stecca was one of the greatest Italian fighters of all time, a future world champion whose only two defeats in 59 fights would be in world-title bouts. He proved too much for Sims, stopping the game Welshman in seven rounds.

Unfortunately for Sims, he had been required to vacate the British title in order to challenge for the European crown and it would be a long road back to the big time.

His travels took him as far as Melbourne, where he lost a 10-round decision to Lester Ellis.

Sims claimed the Welsh Area super-featherweight crown in 1985, a belt he successfully defended against Tony Borg.

This helped set him up for another shot at his old British featherweight belt that he had never lost in the ring.

To win it, the Newport man would have to dethrone fellow Welshman Robert Dickie in a bout at Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre on 30 July, 1986.

The younger Swansea man had the edge on the former champion, though, Dickie stopping his rival in the fifth.

It would prove to be Sims’s final bout in Wales, and he fought just twice more. The Welshman lost to Racheed Lawal in Copenhagen, and was stopped in the fifth round of his final fight, against Paul Hodkinson in Belfast.

He retired at the age of 28 in 1987 with a professional record reading won 14, lost 14, drawn one. Sims has stayed in the sport, as a trainer and promoter in Newport.

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