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Liam Cameron: Fighting Back into Title Contention

By Andrew Wake:


Liam Cameron has felt amazing highs and terrible lows during his two-and-a-half years in the professional ranks.


The former ABA champion, nicknamed “Cannonball”, found himself in the rare position of being bill-topper when made his berth in the paid side of the sport at the City Hall, Sheffield back in October 2009.


A bumper crowd packed into the cosy venue to see him defeat grizzled veteran Matt Scriven on points over six-two minute rounds. After that, the momentum built up and soon he was spoken about as one of the best prospects in the country.


But his journey to the top hit a pothole in the road last May when he was outboxed by Kenyan-born Londoner Erick Ochieng.


It was a result which in an instant brought the fanfare to a screeching halt.


“I’ve never had a fight go worse than that,” the 21-year-old says. “It’s been a bit stale since then. I’ve just been winning fights but no-one really talks about me now.


“To be honest, I should have pulled out against Ochieng. I’m massive at middleweight so trying to get down to 11 stone the day before was crazy. I think I needed to change gyms as well. I can’t slag off Chris Smedley because he’s done everything for me and was in my corner from day one, but I needed to change.


“On top of that we had the baby (daughter India 6lbs 3oz) the week before so I didn’t have any sleep for days and I just felt weak. I should have pulled out because from the first bell I knew there was no snap in my punches.”


Despite the defeat, Cameron’s army of supporters have remained loyal.


For many boxers a first blemish sees the number of people prepared to shell out for tickets dwindling significantly. The young Yorkshireman, however, still attracts a sizable following, but he believes a championship fight is needed if he’s to keep the numbers up.


“I think I need a belt to show them and keep them interested,” Cameron says. “I’m not being big-headed but I think I could have won a British Masters title in like my sixth fight because I’ve boxed people who have fought for them like Jason Ball. He’s got two belts now.


“It’s annoying to see them boxing for titles when I’ve already beat them. I suppose I’ve just got to keep my head down, keep training and hope the chances come.”


If Cameron needs any evidence of the spoils which can be garnered through perseverance then he only needs to look at what his new trainer Clinton Woods achieved during his professional career.


Woods was never considered a prospect when he turned over back in 1994 and had to battle through the hard way before winning British, Commonwealth, European and eventually world titles.


“I’ve been lucky in some ways because Clinton told me that when he started out he was just a guy who liked to have a fight and he didn’t even get on TV until something like his 18th fight,” Liam reveals.

“I think moving to Clinton is the best thing I’ve ever done. When you’re in the corner with him you know you can have full faith because he’s been there and done it himself. If I’m slacking he’s not one of those types that says’ oh you’re doing really well’, he’ll have a right go at me.


“I can feel myself getting stronger in sparring now and that’s thanks to his training. I’m hurting my sparring partners more and I’m doing different tricks as well. I land shots now which I didn’t before.”


A title fight is next on the agenda for the Steel City-native, but potential derbies with Jez Wilson and Castleford’s Luke Robinson have failed to materialise.


Cameron is still pencilled in for a ten round fight on Dennis Hobson’s promotion at the Don Valley Stadium on April 14th, but if no kind of bauble is on the line he is happy to just add to his W column and build towards bigger opportunities in the future.


“What I want to is get a get a good ranking in the top ten. I’ll just keep training and we’ll see if owt comes up for a title,” he says.


“I’d fight anyone at middleweight. Being realistic, I won’t get a fight with the top three (Macklin, Barker and Murray), but I think I would beat the rest of the division.


“Nick Blackwell has the English title and that’s a fight I’d definitely take.


“I don’t think I’ve shown people what I’m capable of yet. I’ve only been boxing at 40 per cent so I think some people have forgotten about my career and I’ve got to spark them with something. I can’t wait to prove what I’m about to them by fighting for the English and then the British title.”


Andrew Wake has a BA honours degree in sports journalism. He is a regular freelancer for the trade publication Boxing News and covers boxing for the Yorkshire Evening Post.

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