BOXING’S newest European champion confesses he feels “a bit of a plonker”.

Darren Tetley may joke about wearing jeans 10 sizes too big just so he can use the shiny WBO belt to hold them up.

And he cheekily suggests there should be an open-top bus parade around the Holme Wood estate where he grew up.

But, if truth be known, Tetley is a little bit embarrassed by the sudden spotlight that followed last week’s dramatic title win at Elland Road.

The Bradford boxer has never been the flash “coulda, woulda, shoulda” type that the sport inevitably attracts. His quiet personality, outside the ring at least, has been more boy next door.

In fact, it is only since his televised victory over Mason Cartwright that his next-door neighbour has finally twigged what he does for a living.

“She stopped me as I was going in the house the other day and asked ‘do you box then?” he laughed. “She didn’t even know until she saw me on the telly.

“The attention has been mad really. I walked into a shop and someone came straight over and said ‘congratulations, I watched you on telly’.

“Then an ambulance driver pulled up near the hospital to say that he’d seen the fight.

“My phone has gone crazy – I even got a follow off (City striker) Charlie Wyke on Twitter! I’ve made it now after that, I’m in the VIP club and it’s time to retire.”

Tetley is enjoying the new-found adulation, although he admits it has been a culture shock.

“People obviously want to see the belt. Friends and family want me to take it over and I feel a bit awkward.

“You walk into places and people ask for a picture with you and the belt. I don’t mind but I’m quite shy and feel a bit of a plonker having to walk round with it!”

But the family will also make sure that Tetley’s head does not drift into the clouds as he prepares for more meaningful fights to come.

The gifted amateur has waited too long to allow his professional ambitions to be limited to his first significant reward.

He added: “My life isn’t going to change. I’m still the same person but some people look at me differently because my name is out there more.

“The biggest difference is people letting on and recognising me now. But I’ve not changed.

“My mum and step-dad have done an unbelievable job bringing me up and they wouldn’t allow me to even if I wanted.

“I’m still the same Darren in their eyes but they are obviously very proud. All my family are.

“My Nana watched my first ever amateur fight and has never seen one since.

“She didn’t watch this one live – she waited until Monday and made my cousin fast-forward to where it started turning! But she was crying afterwards because of how much it meant.”

The fight was approaching its halfway point before Tetley started to turn the tables. But having expected an early salvo from his heavy-fisted opponent, there had been no panic in his game-plan.

Tetley remained confident he would prove the doubters wrong – which had even included trainer Mick Marsden by that stage.

“It probably did me more good coming from behind,” he said. “I had to battle it out and force the stoppage.

“My own trainer didn’t think I had it in me, so I proved a lot of things to him – and to myself.

“I lost the first four rounds but was only one down when the fight finished with two rounds to go. I was well capable of winning it on points – and one judge had it level after eight.

“I’ve always known I’ve got it in me to bite down on the gum shield and really battle it out. But up to now, I’ve never had to show it in the pros.”

The grisly picture of Cartwright’s torn lip and hanging jaw afterwards underlined the power behind Tetley’s decisive shot. He took one Twitter troll to task for suggesting that he had “won the lottery” with the stoppage.

“Even if I had been well behind, the fact is that a punch caused the cut. But every single round was close.

“The knockdown was also a clear shot. There was no dispute.

“But even if I’d knocked him out cold in the last round after losing the first nine, I would still have won.

“It’s like in the Fast and Furious film where Teretto says “it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile – a win’s a win.’

“I’m not letting anyone put a downer on it. I dug deep and beat the fight out of a fighter."