From World Champion To Career Comeback: What Happened To Charlie Edwards?

April 8, 2024
2 months
Charlie Edwards fights Georges Ory in his comeback bout.

Not so long ago, Charlie Edwards was fighting for world titles at a sold-out O2 Arena, the famous venue in London, England. His last fight, in June last year, was a six-rounder at the modest Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester.

The former WBC flyweight world champion makes his return to the ring on Friday (April 12) at York Hall in London – an old, famous venue synonymous with boxing – and is aiming to reboot a career that five years ago looked destined to carry him towards British boxing greatness.

So, what has happened during the intervening years, a spell that has seen his younger brother Sunny establish himself as a world-level boxer of his own?

Bad Decisions Led To ‘Dark Times’

In the lead-up to his bout with Frenchman Georges Ory – which will see the winner collect the vacant WBC international silver bantamweight title – Edwards has been speaking openly about the past few years and his struggles.

He has fought just three times in the last four-and-a-half years, a consequence he said of a series of bad career moves regarding management and promotional companies.

Edwards was signed to the controversial MTK Global – a management and promotions company founded by alleged Irish crime boss Daniel Kinahan. MTK, which also represented the likes of Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders, and Josh Taylor, was shut down in April 2022.

Edwards then signed for new company Probellum, a company many suspected was being run by the same people behind MTK. Probellum, which denied those claims, then mysteriously disappeared.

The British fighter was also having issues in the gym. Having decided to be trained by Joe Gallagher, the pair reportedly fell out, leaving Edwards to search for new guidance.

With his career on the rocks, Edwards turned to the Smith family – a group of boxing brothers from Liverpool. Callum and Liam Smith are both former world champions, while Paul and Stephen were also professional fighters. Stephen has since become a trainer and is the new man in Edwards’ corner.

Trial With Smith Works Out

“I’ve known the Smith family for a long time,” said Edwards. “I’ve been on amateur squads with Stephen’s brother Callum, I’ve shared cards with Stephen as a professional.

“So when I found out he was training fighters, we had a week trial out in Portugal. It was after a day with him, I went home and my wife asked me how it was going but she knew.

“I said ‘I’m going to see how the week goes’ and she was like, ‘why?’ She hadn’t seen me so buzzing about something in a long time’. The next day we were going for a run so I decided to spring it on him. Now here we are.”

As well as finding a trainer he can plot his career path with, Edwards has also found new representation. The former world champion is now working with the reputed Wasserman Group to navigate the next stage of his boxing journey.

Edwards Inspired By Parker

After fearing that his career could be over, the 31-year-old Edwards has said he is taking inspiration from heavyweight contender Joseph Parker.

The New Zealander’s best days appeared to be behind him when he suffered a damaging knockout defeat to Joe Joyce in September 2022. Parker then linked up with trainer Andy Lee – a former world champion – and has since reeled off five victories, including his two most impressive wins: a 12-round domination of Deontay Wilder and a split decision victory against Zhilei Zhang to become the WBO interim heavyweight champion.

“I’ve seen what Parker and Lee have done together and that’s something I believe I can do,” Edwards said. “I’m more grateful now because I’ve got my moment back and I thought I might not get it.”

Edwards Ready For A ‘Resurgence’

Edwards last fought for a world title in August 2019 when he made the second defense of his WBC flyweight world title against Julio Cesar Martinez.

The Mexican dominated the early rounds and looked set for a stunning third-round knockout win, but he landed a body shot on Edwards when the Briton was already down on one knee and the fight was later changed to a no-contest.

Since then, Edwards’ career has hit the rocks, but after giving up alcohol and focusing life on his family, he says he’s ready to get back in title contention as soon as possible.

“Last year I was fighting at the Bowlers in Manchester, no disrespect, but I’m a former world champion and I believe I’m better than that struggling for TV coverage,” he said. “It is like I’ve been slapped numerous times and told no, no and no again but now I feel this is my resurgence moment.”