Charlie Edwards was moved to tears in the aftermath of his victory over Georges Ory on Friday.

After five years of relative inactivity for Edwards, which started when he lost his flyweight title and that involved him moving to bantamweight, becoming self-managed, finding a new promoter in Wasserman and bringing aboard a new trainer in Stephen Smith, the fighter impressed and took a significant step toward returning to world level by earning a unanimous decision over Ory, the former European champion.

The three ringside judges at London’s York Hall rightly awarded him scores of 98-92 over 10 largely one-sided rounds, and having appeared full of emotion in the minutes before the opening bell and previously fearing for his career, Edwards started to cry when he said, “It was very special. I’ve been through a lot. A helluva lot. 

“No one wanted to know me. I’ve been messed around so much, and lied to. I never thought this day would come back. I’ve been grafting my bum off, pushing away and believing and believing. And I just wanna say a massive thank you to God for putting me on this path, for putting me through the trials and tribulations to grow as a man – and a massive thank you for my wife Christine and to my daughter Sofia.

“I’ve just given everything to this sport, and I really didn’t think I was going to get it back. And I thought that I was gonna give up at certain stages. My missus – and looking at my little one – I just had to keep pushing through, because I wanna show her that no matter how hard life gets, you can keep pushing through and you can get back to where you need to be. And I’m back there now and wanna say a massive thank you to [promoters] Kalle and Nisse Sauerland; Wasserman and Channel 5 for backing me, because it’s gonna be the start of another special journey; and a massive thank you to this man. If it weren’t for this man, I wouldn’t be believing in myself like I have.”

The “man” to which Edwards was referring was Smith, with whom he spent seven weeks in Liverpool, U.K., preparing for Ory while his wife and three-year-old daughter remained in Portugal. Before working with Smith, Edwards had separated from trainer and manager Joe Gallagher, who oversaw perhaps the finest years of Smith’s career, and whose fighter Paul Butler was among those Edwards later mentioned.

“He showed glimpses of what he can do and how good he is,” Smith said. “He’s a special talent, and unfortunately he hasn’t been given the chance to show it. And he just said himself, thanks to these men next to him – they’ve backed him and they’ve said, ‘Charlie, we’ll give you this date, this date, this date; you’ve got a bit of activity coming up.' 

“He’s got fights coming up, he’s got people behind him, he’s got a team all pulling in the same direction – and that’s all he ever needed. He needs momentum, and he’s got it now.”

“I loved every second if it,” said Edwards, 31. “I loved every second of fight week, and many of you don’t know, a week ago I got a cut in my last spar, so I went into that fight with a cut as well, and I masked it and I boxed clever.

“I didn’t take risks in there; by no means was that the best Charlie Edwards. All the fighters out there that didn’t want to entertain me, now I’ve got the first one out the way. Once I’ve got the second and the third, I’m taking you all out. I’m coming back to world honors. Thomas Essomba, European champion. Paul Butler. You can’t run forever. You can’t dodge me forever. It’s time to get this gold rush back on.

“Over these last few years I’ve earned nothing. My wife has been bringing the income in through our Airbnb business, and I’m a proud man, so it’s nice to have the ball back rolling. Get busy now and the world’s my oyster.”