Daniel Lerwell Fighting for British Title & Autism Awareness
Daniel Lerwell Fighting for the British Title and Autism Awareness
On Saturday at the O2 in London, England, CJ Mills, current light heavyweight BKB™ champion will look to defend his title against Daniel Lerwell, who’s not only fighting for the title as a challenger, but also for autism awareness.
Fighting out of Swansea, a city located in Wales, Lerwell brings a perfect 2-0 bare-knuckle boxing record to BKB 16 this coming weekend, with his opponent putting forth the same, Mills more recently winning the vacant championship.
Heading into his fight, Lerwell doesn’t do much research on his opponent and never has, leaving the studying to his coaches while he focuses on the fight itself. Training under Jason Williams, a now retired professional boxer, Daniel has improved his boxing, head movement and footwork “leaps and bounds”, looking forward to showcasing his improvements in the Indigo at the O2.
When asked about his opponent, and what he’ll potentially bring to the table, Lerwell says: “I don't look up much on the lads I'm fighting, my coach does all the research. I’d rather go in there and play it out as it goes along! I have power in both hands and with my trainer Jason Williams, a seasoned pro boxer, my boxing and movement have [improved] leaps and bounds, and I'm looking forward to showing that next week in the Indigo… As always, [I] have a lot of respect to anyone I fight, and I think me a CJ could be contender [for] fight of the night!”
Having formally competed in mixed martial arts (MMA), Lerwell would find himself on the end of a losing record. While competing in MMA, the focus was never there for Daniel, having the majority of his attention given to a full-time job and his family. Now fully transitioned over to bare-knuckle boxing under BKB™, it’s been nothing but success for the England native, now finding himself fighting for a British title.
First a fan and now fighting in front of thousands at the O2, Lerwell details how he got involved in competing for the “barbaric” to some, newly legalized sport, and his transition from MMA to bare-knuckle combat.
“Funny story”, Daniel begins... “James Lilly, one of my best mates had a fight in BKB and I had seen most the fights from the beginning on YouTube and thought back then ‘I would love a go at it’, but didn't know how to go about it. So Lilly had a chat and got me on my 1st BKB show in [the] echo arena [in] Liverpool, I fought a tall lad named Peter Radford, whom had a few fights in BKB™ already. I won [with a] 1st round KO, and it started from there. 2 fights in I’ve been given an opportunity to fight for the BKB British title, which is amazing.” Lerwall smiled then continued.
“I never really trained properly for MMA. I was always working and with family, it's hard to concentrate on every. I have so much respect for the MMA guys, they fight for little or no money to get to where they want to and one loss could knock them back 10 fold! I am a 1st degree black belt in judo, which I've trained from about 6-years-old. I did stop judo at about 14-years-old to go boxing, which I had about 14-15 amateur bouts. [I] lost my first 4 (fights) then won the rest and about 8 or 9 by knockout. Transitioning to BKB was great, as I had boxing experience, plus [I] had 9 unlicensed boxing bouts, where I won 8 and have 1 draw. Brought up in a fight area with tough friends, it was fight or train fighting or go to jail and take drugs. I was lucky I had a good bunch of friends.”
Licensed, unlicensed, as a professional, amateur and young boy, Lerwell has lived a life full of fighting. Now a father and husband to his wife and kids, Daniel details what life beyond combat for him is like.
“My life outside the ring is just a normal working dad. I'm a overhead telecoms engineer, sounds posh but it's more digging holes and climbing poles.” Lerwell laughed, “I have 3 amazing kids and an amazing wife. My youngest Theo has autism and is high up on the spectrum with ASD. He is my inspiration to fighting kids on the spectrum, fight every day and smile so when I fight 2-3 times a year, it's nothing compared to the autism warriors out there! I have a daughter 8, Freya who is also my 2 eyes. She is a lot like me in ways, very competitive and not scared of much, as like nothing bothers her which scares me. Then I have my amazing stepdaughter, Ellie she is the brains of the family, hardworking and [a] very intelligent young lady. my wife, well she puts up with a lot from me and the kids, she is the rock of the family, not only does she put up with the kids, she puts up with my moods and down days I have. Aggressive bi-polar, which I don't talk about much, but yes it's hard on her when I'm on a down day or week. She is our angel. Our life consists of making my son and daughters as happy as possible. If it weren’t for them I probably wouldn't be where I am now or may even not be here, they are my saviours.
Theo, son of Daniel Lerwell was born with autism. Now four-years-old, Lerwell has not only put his focus towards his full-time job, family and fighting bare-knuckle boxing, but also spreading autism awareness and fighting for the cause. All inspired by his youngest.
Ahead of his BKB 16 outing and previous fights, Daniel wants to help recognize the “warriors”, kids with autism and help with their ever-growing progression in living with the all too common disorder.
“Autism came into my life 18 months - 2 years after my son was born, and I knew nothing about it which I am ashamed to say, to be honest, so I started fighting back in all just to raise as much awareness as I possibly can. If I can make just 1 person know about autism every time I fight, my job is done. It's the sole reason why I fight, [which] sounds a bit corny, but it really is. It's a huge part of my life now, and I want to do as much as I can to educate people and make them see that autism comes in so many different forms. From OCD at the bottom end of the spectrum to ASD, Asperger’s and a ton more that if I named would take a week to list at the top end of the spectrum. Anyone that is going through a diagnosis of there child now, I would like to say the 1st year is the worst, but when you start seeing just a little tiny bit of progress, that year becomes worth it a million times over. Also, I would like to point out do not listen to doctors they are not always right. They told us my son would probably never talk and recently he has started to say words and string small sentences together. Always have hope and patience as these kids are truly blessed in my eyes. They are gifted in most ways! The struggle comes with every day, things even as small as a hair cut is a huge battle for kids on the spectrum, so how can I be scared of fighting 3 times a year when these warriors fight every day? These kids man, are the warriors, not us punching each other! So I'm doing it as these little warriors fight every day, we fight 3 times a year, that's nothing compared to these kids.”
Despite a busy family life, working a full-time job, and everything else that comes with being a father and husband, Daniel Lerwell is more focused than ever ahead of his British title fight this coming weekend. Aware he will be in a battle, fighting Mills for the title of their country, Lerwell tells the fans to expect blood, sweat, tears and “loads of pain”, eyeing a knockout victory over the current champ.
“You can expect a great battle of 2 guys fighting it out for a title of our land. I think me and CJ have been very evenly matched, and I think I am his toughest test and he will be mine. So expect blood, sweat, tears and boat loads of pain. I go in for the KO all the time, and so does CJ, so it will be a fan favourite also.”
If you’re looking to make a difference in Fighting for Autism, visit fightingforautism.com.au for information on how you can help and become more informed.