After admitting to recent outside-the-ring problems, Ted Cheeseman next fight, against Kieron Conway, take on increasing importance. He tells Danny Flexen about it
A resurgent Ted Cheeseman cannot wait to get back in the ring after suffering his first professional defeat, in February. Cheeseman, now 15-1 (9), lost a European super-welterweight title challenge by clear decision to talented Spaniard Sergio Garcia at London’s O2, but still owns the British championship. The 23-year-old Bermondsey man, trained by Tony Sims, has since admitted to a serious gambling problem that has haunted him since his teenage years and proved mentally taxing in the build-up to the Garcia setback.
This Friday, on a Matchroom NXTGEN card at York Hall in Bethnal Green, Cheeseman makes his return, defending the Lonsdale Belt against Northampton’s 12-1 (3) Kieron Conway, who somehow fought three times just last month, two in his run to the Ultimate Boxxer middleweight semi-final and a four-rounder two weeks later. It should be noted Conway has yet to make the 154lb super-welter limit as a pro and Cheeseman believes he is the right opponent against whom to ease his way back.
“I sparred Conway a couple of years ago,” he told me. “But I know you can’t take much out of sparring; it’s just to work on stuff. But Garcia is a different level to him, and I still stuck in for 12 rounds, throwing until the last second. Now I’m fully focused, I know I’ll get him out of there. I’d love to put the brakes on but I think it’s hard where I’ve been at that level. I’m not saying 100% I’d have beaten Garcias if I was focused but I woulda given myself a better chance; Conway is number one on the list at the moment.”
The domestic super-welterweight scene is constantly moving. After Scott Fitzgerald scored a minor upset over touted Anthony Fowler in March, he replaced the Liverpool Olympian as Cheeseman’s mandatory challenger. The character from Preston wanted to fit another fight in first and signed to meet Blackpool rival and ex-British boss Brian Rose in Manchester, on July 6. Fitzgerald subsequently injured his hand and Fowler, who had previously engaged in a social media war of words with Cheeseman, stepped in to face Rose. That seemingly leaves Cheeseman and Fitzgerald once again on a collision course.
“I’ve got to get past this fight but I’ve seen Fitzgerald pulled out and I think he just wants to be ready for the British title so that will probably be my next fight,” Cheeseman said. “Everyone wrote off Fitzgerald against Fowler, but if you look through all my interviews, I said it was a 50-50 fight. It was who you fancied, after the eighth round Fowler stuck it on him then in the 10th he punched himself out and Fitzgerald put him down, but both were knackered. Fitzgerald performed a little better than expected and Fowler didn’t do as well as he was hyped up to, but neither looked world beaters. Some people will say Rose is past his sell by date, others will say he has a lot left, and if he has then Fowler could be in for a tough night.”