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It’s funny how athletes are expected to keep a cool head when they are in a contact sport. At the end of the day, isn’t it normal for you to get upset when you are constantly hit, kicked or insulted? Curtis Woodhouse’s story is much like this.

A boy who became a professional soccer player but grew up admiring boxers like Nigel Benn and Mike Tyson. He who fulfilled the dream to debut in the Premier League and at the same time become boxing champion. His story is that of a search for balance between his three passions.

The start with the ball

Woodhouse began his soccer career with the York City Football Club in 1994, before being transferred to Sheffield United. Team at which he debuted aged  only seventeen, in the victory against Crewe Alexandra in the then called “First Division.” He also debuted in the Premier League.

His outstanding performances earned him the call to join the England Under-21 national team. He even represented his team in the 2000 European Championship in Slovakia in the same category.

Curtis had a turbulent career with several teams in England’s lower leagues, including teams such as Birmingham City, Rotherham United, Peterborough United, Hull City, Grimsby Town, Rushden & Diamonds, Mansfield Town, Harrogate Town and Sheffield.

Loving the ball

Throughout his teens and as a young adult, he had a history with a history linking him to robbery, as well as riot and street fighting. He even stated that he had been involved in hundreds of them.

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Just during his stint at Grimsby Town, Woodhouse stated that he “had ceased to be in love with soccer” and that he planned to begin his career as a professional boxer. Emphasizing that:

“Boxing was always my first love when I was a boy. I love to fight, now instead of being locked up, I prefer to be paid for it.”

Up the ring

Curtis trained with former featherweight champion Gary De Roux and debuted with a win on September 8, 2006 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

During his childhood, Woodhouse was a victim of racism by some of his schoolmates, he spoke with his fists and soon they stopped bothering him.

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“They called me names because of my skin color, but with a quick punch to the mouth, they soon got out of my way,” said the Former midfielder.

His boxing record is 31 fights, 24 wins (13 by knockout) and 7 losses.

Finding the balance

After his first fight as a professional boxer, Curtis decided he wanted to play soccer again. He continued developing both professions with the difficulty of finding a balance between both and his personal life.

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During his later years as a professional player, he earned his rematch against Jay Morris who had previously defeated him in the ring. Woodhouse won the International Masters light welter-weight championship.

He is currently retired from the ring and is coach of the Gainsborough Trinity Football Club in the Northern Premier League. Managing to keep a balance between his three loves: his family, boxing and soccer.


By: Mario Badillo / @n7mariobadillo