Ted Cheeseman: Hurd, Charlo and Munguia are beatable

Sporting News
Super welterweight champion Ted Cheeseman sat down with Sporting News to discuss his early days of boxing, why his fighting style makes him a fan favorite, and why he's ready to take on one of boxing's big names.
Super welterweight champion Ted Cheeseman sat down with Sporting News to discuss his early days of boxing, why his fighting style makes him a fan favorite, and why he's ready to take on one of boxing's big names.

Ahead of his EBU European super welterweight title fight against Sergio Garcia on Feb. 2 in London, which can be watched live on DAZN, super welterweight champion Ted Cheeseman sat down with Sporting News to discuss his early days of boxing, why his fighting style makes him a fan favorite, and why he's ready to take on one of boxing's big names.

Sporting News: Ted, you won the British title in your last fight. The European title is up for grabs on Feb 2. Over the past 18 months it feels like you’re being fast tracked to world title honors.

Ted Cheeseman: I was being held back as I’m only 23; I couldn’t fast track too quickly because once you go up you can’t really come back. But they [my coaching team] feel that I am ready now. I have a good manager and a good coach behind me and now I’m taking these steps.

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SN: Sergio Garcia likes to bring the pressure and have a fight, and he is the champ. How tough do you expect this fight to be?

Cheeseman: This is a very tough fight. I think my last few opponents have doubted me and also thought there was a chance I might get turned over and beat, but I always perform and always train very hard. I know what’s in front of me so I know what I have to do to win.

SN: Many fighters struggle with the tipping point, when they go from being the hunter to the hunted once they become a champion. Now you have a belt, and there are many fighters queuing up at your door. How are you finding it?

Cheeseman: I think on the domestic scene I’m the main man now, but obviously you have the likes of Liam Smith and Kell Brook, but they are at world level. I feel this is the fight that pushes me onto the world level where I’ll be back to being the hunter and hunting down the likes of Liam Smith and Kell Brook. But first I have to get this fight against Sergio Garcia out of the way, then we can see what’s next.

SN: There have been a few words said between Anthony Fowler and yourself in recent months. What do you think when you look at Anthony Fowler?

Cheeseman: I think six to eight months ago I probably needed Fowler as a stepping stone to get up the levels, but now it’s the other way around and Fowler needs me. I’m the British champion. After Feb. 2, I’ll be the European champion with a high ranking with all the governing bodies. If the fight happens, well, I’m a fighter and I’ll fight him tomorrow — but I have a manager and if he feels there are better opportunities for me then that’s what’s going to happen.

SN: You had a good amateur career, but you didn’t go down the Olympic route. Do you feel there is too much emphasis put on the Team GB fighters, and that they are held in a better light than the fighters that just turn pro?

Cheeseman: Yeah 100 percent. Out of all the boys on the Team GB squad probably one in five of them becomes a world champion. There’s a lot more that fail than succeed. Not everyone that was a great amateur will turn into a great pro. A year ago, I was chasing these types of fights because I wanted to show people that it’s all hype. But now I’m past that level, and after this fight there are going to be big opportunities for me, and I’m not the type of fighter that’ll turn them down.

SN: Jarrett Hurd wasn’t at his best against Jason Welborn, Jermell Charlo got beaten, and there are some very good fighters like Jaime Munguia that you’ve seen from ringside in Mexico. If you could pick one fighter you would like to face, who would it be?

Cheeseman: To be honest, any of them three I’d be happy to fight because none of them are a Canelo or a Mayweather, do you know what I mean? All three of them are beatable. So whatever opportunity I get offered I’m going to take it.

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SN: Take us back to your early days of boxing.

Cheeseman: When I was 12, I loved football [soccer]; my whole family loved football. But I started boxing at the age of 12. I went a couple of times, and my coach liked the look of me and said that I could come every day if I wanted to. From then I never looked back. After six months I got my medical card and went to a show as a spare fighter and ended up having my first bout. I think as a boxer, when you start having a couple of fights, every boxer's dream is to become a world champion. When I was 17, I had been boxing at a high level for a couple of years. I’d been to the World games but didn’t go to the European games — AIBA banned England from competing — and when I turned 19, I decided to step up to pro, and I won my first few national titles by boxing on the back foot. In the end I got into a rhythm of keeping my hands up tight and walking my opponents down and just have a fight. Now I’m training with Tony [Sims], we’ve been working a lot more on my boxing ability and making me a more technical fighter, so I don’t just bully fighters and walk through them. So, I’ve added a bit more to my game, and it’s all starting to come together. Right now, I’m training for a European title and the world is my oyster.

SN: The London fight crowd has always taken to you as you walk down your opponents and take the fight to them. You’ve been described many times as a throwback fighter. How would you describe your fighting style?

Cheeseman: I always train really hard, even when I was a kid. Whenever I lost, I used to get really, really upset. For weeks it would drive me mad until I had my next fight and won. Then I would be back on a roll again and happy. If I had a bad decision, it made me want to just get them out of there inside the distance so there was no chance of a decision going against me. I think I had a 20 odd win streak towards the end of my amateur days, but as an amateur it’s just an apprenticeship. But with my style, whenever I box it's always exciting because if I’m beating my opponent and winning, I’m going to try and smash them and get them out of there. I’m going to be spiteful and people are going to enjoy it because I’m going to be landing the big shots and hurting people. If someone is coming to fight me and it’s a struggle for me, then I’m going to use my heart as well as my head and dig deep, so it’s always exciting. It’s hard for me not to be in an exciting fight.

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