TOUGH guys don’t cry, according to the old adage. But Stephen Simmons was nearly an exception to the rule after ending a seven-year quest to win a boxing title of note.

His unanimous points win over Corby’s Simon Barclay at Meadowbank Arena on Friday evening in a contest for the vacant IBF European title, almost reduced the 33-year-old Edinburgh cruiserweight to tears.

Simmons found dealing with his emotions harder than handling Barclay as the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist reflected on what his success meant to him.

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“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “I could not have dreamed of a better place to win than in my home city. The crowd were right behind me.

“This puts me in the top 15 in the world with the IBF and a step closer to my dream of a world title. Now I’ll take a couple of weeks to enjoy some family time with my wife, Nicole and baby son Ethan, who is just 18 weeks old.

“I have another little boy, Stephen and the belt is for both of them. But the win is dedicated to Ethan because I had won two belts before he was born and they were dedicated to Stephen.”

Simmons revealed that he feared being forced to pull-out of the biggest fight of his career after suffering a shoulder injury in training that left him suffering muscle spasms.

Earlier in the evening, Gary Cornish of Inverness was unable to find the wherewithal to become the first Scot to aspire to the level of British heavyweight champion, losing a points decision to Sam Sexton of Norwich.