Junior middleweight Ted Cheeseman 16-2-1 (9) got the monkey off his back with a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision victory over Sam Eggington 28-7 (17) at the Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday night.
It was Cheeseman’s first win in almost two years after going 0-2-1 in his past three fights.
The 24-year-old Londoner got off to a flying start, showing off his boxing skills to control the early action. Late in the second round he wobbled Eggington with a right hand but was unable to finish him off before the bell.
The complexion of the fight changed in the middle rounds as Eggington, 26, willed himself back into the fight. Cheeseman welcomed the opportunity to brawl and the second half of the bout was punctuated by thrilling exchanges on the inside.
In the final round Eggington threw everything he had at Cheeseman, hurting him with a right-left combination before the favourite came firing back. If there was a crowd on hand they surely would have been on their feet as the pair traded power shots until the bell.
When the dust settled all three judges had the fight in favour of Cheeseman by scores of 115-114 and 116-113 twice.
“I’ve seen fighters lose sometimes and the come back to the changing room and they don’t care,” said Cheeseman, who lifted the IBF International title with the win.
“Everyone has seen that every time I lose I am very upset.
“I cried my eyes out after (Sergio) Garcia, I stormed out of the ring after (Kieron) Conway, I stormed out of the ring after (Scott) Fitzgerald. I’m a winner and I love winning. I have given my heart and soul to the sport and come through my problems. I thought I deserved a bit of luck the last year, but I never got it.
“I stayed determined, I pushed on and had a tough fight again, I never came back with a warm-up.
“When I got a little bit tired, I stood down and had a fight with Sam. I know I can box and fight, but maybe I (lacked) a bit of morale and confidence, I hadn’t won of nearly two years.
“But I had a great camp and was confident going in that ring. I had no pressure with no crowd here.
“It was great to have no crowd and just communicate with Tony (Sims, his trainer). I know I made a few mistakes, but I boxed really well considering I’ve come off two losses and a draw.
“At times, when it got tough, I could have thought ‘I’m winning, but it is just not going my way, it is just one of them nights again’. But I bit down on my gumshield and gave my all.
“This was my last chance. If I lost tonight I was retired, but now I could be No.5 in the world, I’m IBF international champion, I could cry my eyes out with happiness.”