FEW fighters can say they have made tangible progress during the recent global pandemic. But one man who can is Birmingham’s Sam Eggington.
Eggington, 30-7 (18), has managed to box three times in the past 12 months and has, during this period, played his part in a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender as well as scored two of the best wins of his career to date. Now, with some much-needed momentum, and a new promoter backing him, Eggington fights again in Coventry on September 10, convinced he has turned a corner.
“It’s been a good week,” he told Boxing News days after signing a promotional agreement with Hennessy Sports. “I’ve got a date and a contract sorted. There’s nothing more I could have asked for. Now I’m just raring to go. I’m riding the crest of a wave and I’m looking to keep winning.”
Much of the appeal of signing with Hennessy Sports, of course, aside from him now being a key part of a close-knit stable of fighters, has everything to do with the fact that Eggington will continue being able to showcase his talents on Channel 5.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “As mad as it sounds, I’ve had the old guys down the road stopping me when I’ve been out telling me they’ve watched me on TV. That’s only because I’m on terrestrial TV. When I was boxing on other stations, I wasn’t getting that.
“You have to be a boxing fan to know boxing is happening on Sky Sports. But since I’ve been boxing on terrestrial TV, I’m getting regular members of the public watching me and then noticing me out and about. I’m also getting huge viewing numbers. And sponsors love it as well.
“Hennessy gets behind his fighters. What he has done so far for me has been great, bearing in mind I hadn’t signed for him before this week. I just gave him my word that we would get a contract sorted and he arranged the [Ashley] Theophane fight [last December] and a fight against a former [IBF] champion [Carlos Molina]. He believes in me and I believe in what he does.”
The last time Eggington entertained the general public on terrestrial television he had to go the full 12 rounds against Carlos Molina in May. It was a fight from which he took away plenty.
“He was seasoned, man,” Eggington said. “In the first round, I got a bit excited and was hitting him at will. But then he caught me with a body shot and it nearly folded me. I thought, ‘Yeah, I’m going to have to sit back a bit now and take my time.’ He was probably setting a trap and I knew it was going to be a long night.
“I thought I hurt him a few times but all he would do was take a deep breath and recover. It was crazy. It’s the only time Jon [Pegg, trainer] has said, ‘Look, you’ve got this fight, you can have the next round off,’ and I’ve agreed. There are some tough lads in Britain but nobody was as tough and durable as Molina.
“What I did [winning by decision] was better than blowing him out in a round. I was able to show more of my game and get more from it. It was a good night.”
Eggington now hopes for more good nights in the future. He also hopes to one day secure a rematch against Ted Cheeseman, the current British super-welterweight champion with whom Eggington went to war last August.
“I wanted the Cheeseman rematch but you can’t sit about and wait for people,” he said. “I got put in a final eliminator for the British [title] against [Anthony] Fowler. I’m not being big-headed but I won the British title when I was 21. I’m not going to do an eliminator for it at this stage. I would have fought for the belt, whether it was Fowler or Cheeseman. I would have done that. But I’m not going to fight an eliminator for it.
“It’s only the rematch I want really but I’m not going to chase someone who doesn’t want it. The fight was there and it was an easy fight to make. It was a crazy fight [their first encounter] and everyone loved it. A lot of people thought I won and a lot of people thought he [Cheeseman] won. It had all the ingredients to lead to a massive rematch. I was well up for it but he had better things to do. He had the British coming up against [James] Metcalf and he wants to push on from there. He didn’t need to fight me again. And when you watch the fight back, you can understand why. He didn’t want that again. It was a tough fight for him. I do that sort of thing daily. That’s my career.”
In the future, Eggington says he is happy to offer his services as both a super-welterweight and middleweight, depending on the opportunities available. He also believes he is only getting better. “I think I’m getting better, although I’m bound to say that,” said the 27-year-old. “I’m doing more training off my own back because I enjoy it more and I’m learning more. In the past, I was just young and big for the weight. I went in there and thought let me just use my size and have a war.
“But as I’ve got older, I’ve made the weight easier, and I’ve had time to learn and take notice of what I’m actually doing in there. I think that’s now showing. I’m boxing more. I’m trying to stay out of the way a bit more.”
“The Savage” might be a tad harder to find in the ring with punches these days but he is, thanks to aligning himself with Channel 5, certainly now easier to find in people’s living rooms.