After a promising start to his pro career, Ted Cheeseman was on the verge of stardom and primed for a big 2019.
A loss to Sergio Garcia, followed by a draw against Kieron Conway and then a loss to Scott Fitzgerald which ended his run as British junior middleweight champion spoiled what was supposed to be the start of Cheeseman’s journey to challenging for a world title.
The 24-year-old has had a lot to think about since then and has had to wait a lot longer to have his hand raised in victory, nearly 22 months. It’s been a humbling experience for Cheeseman, but one where he’s had to sit upon and reflect for a long time.
“I’ve had nearly a year since my last fight to sit on and I’ve been learning and improving, working in the gym. I even had a chance to rest a little bit and I haven’t had a chance to rest much throughout my pro career. I got my body refreshed, my mind refreshed and now it’s time to put it all together. I want to go far in this sport and my passion is back more than ever. I’m more focused than ever,” Cheeseman said.
Now, Cheeseman will have his first fight in nearly a year under the most unusual of circumstances. His fight against Scott Fitzgerald on August 1 is set to headline Matchroom Boxing’s return to boxing in the United Kingdom on promoter Eddie Hearn’s backyard in Brentwood.
Cheeseman was excited upon hearing that he would be given the opportunity to fight in the Matchroom Fight Camp series as he thought he would have to wait until 2021 before he would get to fight again.
It’s not perhaps the most glamorous of returns and it’s not the same as fighting in front of 10,000 fans, but for Cheeseman, the objective still remains the same and getting to make history as the main event of the first Matchroom Fight Camp does sound very appealing to him.
“The more I started to think about it, it’s a big event and it’s going to go down in history and in years and years, people are going to be talking about boxing with no crowds and then you have fights in Eddie’s garden. It’s crazy that it’s going to be something to be talked about for years. It’s great to be on the first show and set the pace. I think you just have to treat it like it is in front of 10,000 people just like you did back then. It’s all about blocking everything out. It doesn’t matter who’s there or how many people are out there, the main focus is getting in there and winning and pushing to advance in your career," Cheeseman said.
Eggington’s losses against Garcia and Fitzgerald were very eye-opening for Cheeseman. It got him to rethink things from a mental perspective and learned the need to be mentally tougher and not take advantage of any opportunities that may present itself during a fight.
“When I fought Sergio Garcia, I wasn’t there mentally, but I shouldn’t have put my head in to take punishment. I was just punishing myself because my head wasn’t there yet. With the Fitzgerald fight, I think I won, but if I were to look back on it, every time I made him miss, I should have come back quicker to hit him,” Cheeseman said.
The last few months have been difficult for many boxers, with one issue being the training. With lockdowns and travel restrictions in place, it’s nearly impossible to have a normal training camp and bring in the type of sparring partners one would have. Luckily for Cheeseman, he’s had the likes of Conor Benn, Felix Cash and John Ryder as sparring partners.
When it comes to the actual fight, Cheeseman fully believes he’s capable of not only winning the fight but also knocking him out. Cheeseman isn’t taking the fight lightly though. He knows what is at stake. Very few boxers can rebound from four straight winless fights and achieve world championship success and with Eggington being ranked in the top five of the IBF at junior middleweight, plenty of opportunities will come down his way if he pulls off the win.
“Eggington’s someone who has had a few more fights than me, some good level fights, but he also has some losses to his name. He’s had some big defeats, some bad defeats and for me, I’m still fresh. I’m past my losses. I can box, I can fight, I got a lot of heart and a good chin. There isn’t much that I can’t do. I just have to be mentally focused and if I stay that way, I can beat Sam comfortably. I think I can stop him inside the distance. With Sam, he takes a lot of shots. I just have to take my time, be patient and not load up and waste energy. I just have to keep hitting him and then eventually, one shot will come up where I hit him home and be finished,” Cheeseman said.
Eggington vs. Cheeseman will take place at Matchroom Fight Camp on August 1 and will be streamed on DAZN in the United States. You can check out the full interview in the video at the top of the page and subscribe to my YouTube channel at this link.