A double success for Leeds’ superstar boxers packed a real punch for 15-year-old Reagan Tolson, who was made to feel victorious in his own right as he bids to resume the pursuit of his own sporting dreams.
Just months after the young rugby league starlet was hit by a car and left hospitalised with a catalogue of horrendous injuries, he was selected to join his hero Josh Warrington on a pre-bout ring walk in front of thousands of boxing fans at the First Direct Arena on Saturday night.
Josh went on to score a gruelling points win over Spaniard Kiko Martinez to retain his WBC international featherweight title. His victory followed a win for fellow Leeds boxer Nicola Adams who defeated Mexico’s Maryan Salazar in the third round of what was her second fight since turning professional.
For Reagan, it was a special day which had given him something to look forward to, his mum Cheryl Tolson said.
The Morley Bruntcliffe Academy student was hit by a car on the A650 as he walked back to Drighlington with some friends after a trip to Birstall Shopping Park on November 25.
He was visited by boxer Josh in Leeds General Infirmary as he received treatment for injuries including a broken pelvis, ankle, elbow, collar bone and shoulder - and the teenager received special attention at the weekend.
Reagan’s big day started when he was invited to join Josh for a pre-fight dinner at Oulton Hall. At the arena, he was kitted out in a tracksuit, in keeping with Josh’s team and was whisked backstage to the changing rooms where he met former Leeds United footballer Jermaine Beckford and was shown what goes on behind the scenes before a fight.
The crowning moment came when Reagan joined Josh as he strode out into the arena.
Cheryl said: “It was fantastic. Josh really made him feel part of it. The atmosphere was so good. Reagan was in awe of it.
“A lot of people came up to me saying how proud I must be. It was surreal but absolutely brilliant - we’re chuffed Josh won.”
Reagan’s recovery continues with an intensive period of physiotherapy and he has even started non-contact training at Bradford Bulls and Drighlington ARLFC.