2019 has been a nightmare year for Ted Cheeseman. It began for him in February when Sergio Garcia handed him a punishing defeat in a European title fight, dismantling the Bermondsey super-welterweight over 12 humbling rounds. Then in June he went into a difficult British title defence against Kieron Conway, emerging from a bruising York Hall fight with a draw. Cheeseman hasn’t won yet this year and on October 19 he will go into another British title fight against an in form Scott Fitzgerald. It might just get harder still.
“It’s been a very difficult. But life’s difficult whether you work in an office, whether you work on a building site,” Cheeseman told Boxing News. “The people who are successful are the people who keep pushing and get through it. That’s what I’ve done. Hopefully in October I get the win and I prove that if you keep working hard, you get what you want.”
He has been dealing with difficult personal issues, confronting a bad gambling habit. His trainer Tony Sims said, “We had to put him through the process of going to meetings which he’s been doing. He does it every week, I’m really proud of the personal side to his life at the moment as well.
“He’s in recovery and that’s not easy to kick any addiction and he was addicted in a bad way.”
Cheeseman explained, “You never want to stop until you have a consequence and my consequence was losing (to Garcia). You realise but you don’t want to realise it’s a problem… Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. This year will have learned me a lot.”
“I’ve gone to the GA meetings,” he continued. “I’ve gone through it all and I’m still coming out fighting.”
Sims added, “When you look at Sergio Garcia fight, he just came up against a guy who was in every department better than him, his skillset, his experience, he was 29-0. Ted got in and had a go and he was out of his depth. Also behind the scenes he had a lot of personal problems.”
To retain his British title, Cheeseman had to fight Conway immediately after Garcia. “Bearing in mind I’ve watched them spar and I don’t think Ted won one round he sparred against him,” his trainer said. “I was forced to do a fight I didn’t really want to do… It wasn’t an ideal fight for him but I think looking at the fight, he won the fight by two or three rounds. That’s the way I scored the fight and to be honest compared with the sparring against him he did far better.”
Cheeseman is adamant he can get back on track against Fitzgerald in Newcastle. “He’s a great opponent for me. He suits my style,” Ted said. “I’m highly confident. He’s a good fighter. So I’ve got to be on the ball 100%.
“Fitzgerald’s going to stand there with me at points, he may try and jab and beat me with the jab, sometimes he’ll do that. There are points in the fight where he’s going to stand there. Conway and Garcia were very, very busy, fit fighters with their counter-punching style.”
He insists, “Him and [Anthony] Fowler were both shattered, knackered in the 10th round. He’s a good fighter but that 10 rounds was nowhere near as high paced as the [Asinia] Byfield fight, the Garcia fight or the Conway fight and I went 12 rounds and I was still throwing punches in the 12th round. I don’t think those sort of fighters will handle that pressure. But it’s all what about happens on the night.”
In fact he thinks Fowler should box Conway in a British title eliminator. “I think Fowler has to earn that right to fight either me, or Scott again,” Cheeseman maintained. “He doesn’t deserve to lose to Scott, beat an old, washed up Brian Rose and fight the winner of me and Scott.
“In my honest opinion I think Conway plays with the likes of Fowler. Fowler hasn’t got the fast footwork like me.”
Cheeseman is adamant that he can rebuild from the nightmare he’s had so far in 2019. His troubles have left him with a new outlook. “You go through all the good times and you think it’s the best sport in the world. You love it and you think nothing can go wrong. But I’ve had all the problems and now I think it’s time for a bit of plain sailing,” he says. “Now I know is you can train as hard as you can, try and live right as best you can and turn up 100% on the night and give 100%, as long as you do that yourself, whether you win, lose or draw, that’s all that matters. Obviously you go in there aiming to win, which I do, I’m very highly confident I’ll win, that’s all I aim do.”
But now he’s learned: “As long as you know you give 100% that’s all that matters. When I boxed Garcia I never gave 100% because I wasn’t mentally right so I always will have that regret. But now it’s time to put my regrets behind and put them right.”