Eggington wishes he could box like Mayweather but everyone else is glad he can’t
Sam Eggington wishes he could box like Floyd Mayweather – but everyone else is quite happy he can’t.
The 26-year-old will headline the first of Eddie Hearn’s ground-breaking Matchroom Fight Camp cards in a domestic dust-up with Ted Cheeseman tonight.
The Birmingham-born brawler, known as 'The Savage', has become a huge hit with fans as a result of one simple fact – he loves to get into a tear-up.
The attributes that can often be his greatest shortcoming are also his greatest strength and the reason Hearn thrust Eggington and Cheeseman, a fighter with a similar approach, into the limelight to test new ground.
And whilst Eggington has made his name as one of boxing’s toughest fighters, he is well aware of the fact life would be much easier if he could dance his way out of danger like greats such as Mayweather.
Asked about his toughness and style, Eggington said: “I wouldn’t say I take pride in it, I know it’s stupid really, it’s just something that I do. You’re either like that or you’re not.
“If I could get in the ring and box like Mayweather, not get hit for 12 rounds I definitely would do it, but I just don’t box like that.
“I just box to the best of my ability, use my strengths and do everything I can to get the win.
“A lot of the time that means taking a few punches and getting hit, but I definitely don’t take pride in getting punched in the head!”
It is easy for fans of the sport to love Eggington and his approach.
For those closest to him, it is more difficult to embrace.
“It’s difficult for them, obviously,” Eggington says regarding the impact it has on his loved ones. “The bigger the fights are the more pressure I’m under and I think they can feel it.
“My family is not a huge boxing family, they just know that I box and I have an opponent, so they just go off what they read and so on.
“If I’m going in as the underdog, people are saying I’m going to get beat and the kid has 15 knockouts or something then they worry about that.
“But that’s boxing. I think everyone understands its my job, and there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s inevitable.
“I box, I have opponents that I try to hit and they want to hit me back, that’s just the way the game works.”
Eggington’s journey to the bright lights of Matchroom HQ started in remarkable circumstances.
Whilst most fighters enter the ring focused on becoming world champions, Eggington’s initial foray into the professional ranks was simply a way to put food on the table.
“I quit amateur boxing for about a year. I had a job, had a son and I was completely done with it really,” Eggington explains.
“My amateur gym was the same amateur gym as Craig Cunningham, and obviously he turned over to go pro and I wanted to do it as well.
“After about a year of working in my job I got made redundant, and I heard about this journeyman thing.
“I spoke to Craig and said, ‘look, is there any chance I could come up to your gym, have a word with your coach, manager or whatever and see if we can go in that direction’.
“He said yes, I went up there just planning to have a few fights as a journeyman to put food on the table and it’s just snowballed from there to where we are now.”
Eggington possesses some impressive wins amongst his 28 wins from 34 fights.
He stopped former Olympian and fellow West Midlander Frankie Gavin in October 2016 before doing the same to former world champion Paulie Malignaggi a few months later.
But there have also been some crushing lows – most notably a shock defeat against unknown Hassan Mwakinyo in Birmingham in September 2018.
The second round stoppage cost him a huge shot at Brandon Rios in the USA but has also taught him valuable lessons moving forwards.
“It was difficult,” Eggington recalls. “I knew why it happened, so I didn’t have to look into myself, I knew it wasn’t that I’d lost the hunger or lost a chin or whatever people were saying.
“The fact I knew the reasons for it meant it wasn’t so much going and looking at myself, it was more giving myself a smack and saying ‘I shouldn’t have been so greedy and jumped in’.
“I should’ve just missed that one completely and moved on to the next one, but it is what it is and it’s all a learning curve.
“We took it, maybe I shouldn’t have, but that’s hindsight I suppose.”
After four wins on the spin, including an impressive stoppage of Orlando Fiordigiglio for the IBF International light-middleweight title last September, Eggington is back on track.
He believes he would have moved beyond a fight against former British champion Cheeseman if not for the coronavirus pandemic.
But the chance to claim a big domestic win was too good to turn down as he eyes big things on the international scene over the next few years.
“I think if you look at the way both of us fight, it can only make for a good fight,” he says. “Styles make fights, and with the way we both box I can only see it being exciting.
“I’ve been at British level, where he is, a long time ago and I think if it wasn’t for Covid-19 I’d have been pushing on to build my international ranking.
“I’m fifth with the IBF now, so ideally I’d have been pushing in that direction rather than fighting someone who has won and lost the British title.
“But with the situation, beggars can’t be choosers. This is the fight that’s come up, as I said I think it should be a great fight, and it’s one I know I’m capable of winning.
“Without Covid I think I’d have been in a strong position.
“I’ve never been in any sort of position to argue for an eliminator or that sort of thing, but I think at the moment, with my ranking and if I get a good win over Cheeseman then that would push me up a bit further.
“I think I’d definitely be in a position to argue for some sort of eliminator or final eliminator with the IBF, that’d be a great position to be in, or maybe even a European title shot at super-welterweight.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds, but if I can get the win over Cheeseman then I think we’ll be in a pretty good position.”
Everyone is expecting fireworks when Eggington and Cheeseman get into the ring.
And even without a crowd, Eggington reckons he will have no problem entering fighting mode as soon as the first bell rings.
He added: “It’s going to be different, but for me, I don’t think it will make much difference when the bell goes. Every fighter gets tunnel vision once that bell rings.
“The ring walk will be a bit eery with no-one there, I presume they’ll try and make it look good with the music, smoke and things like that but nobody will be there to scream and shout.
“But after the ring walk, once the bell goes, I personally don’t think it will matter for me. I’d do it in my own back garden if I was going to get paid!
“As long as there’s an opponent there, it won’t change anything – I’m going to box and I need to win that fight no matter how many people are watching.”
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