Sam Eggington’s had his ups and downs over a boxing career that began in 2012, and in many ways he seems a lot older than his 26 years of age.
Eggington won the Commonwealth welterweight title in May 2015 by Joseph Lamptey, and then dominated against Glenn Foot to claim the British title just two months later. After a successful defense against Dale Evans, he lost the belts to Bradley Skeete, then a rising prospect, in Mar. 2016.
But Eggington pressed on. He beat Frankie Gavin. He knocked out and retired former two-division world titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in Mar. 2017. He beat Ceferino Rodriguez for the European welterweight title two months after trouncing Malingaggi.
And then he was upset by Mohamed Mimoune — who it turns out is a pretty decent fighter, mind you — and was then shockingly stopped in two rounds by Hassan Mwakinyo in Sept. 2018.
The last time most people saw Eggington, probably, he was being battered pillar to post by Liam Smith at 154 pounds in Mar. 2019. Smith was just far too much for Eggington, and people started to wonder if the young man hadn’t gotten old ahead of his time.
But he’s won four straight since then, including a junior welterweight win in Italy over Orlando Fiordigiglio last September, and will be one-half of Matchroom’s first “Fight Camp” main event when he faces Ted Cheeseman on Aug. 1 in what is unofficially dubbed here as The Omelette Fight.
That’s not to make light of the matchup, which could produce fireworks.
“You only have to watch Ted fight to know that he doesn’t give up when it gets hard,” said Eggington. “I have full faith in myself and if anyone can make him give up, I’ll be that guy. It’ll be a good fight while it lasts. The way we both fight, it’s going to gel for a war, but I genuinely think I’ve got enough to get the win.”
Eggington (28-6, 17 KO) is remarkably still young enough to accomplish plenty more, while Cheeseman (15-2-1, 9 KO) is on an 0-2-1 run at age 24, but is also a former British champion at 154 pounds, and his title loss to Scott Fitzgerald last October came with some controversy in the scoring, as did his draw with Kieron Conway four months prior. Sergio Garcia definitely beat Cheeseman in Feb. 2019, but he arguably should have won his last two instead of coming away with a draw and a loss.
Still, Eggington sees this as a very winnable fight, and a chance to break through to that next level.
“I’m confident with this fight. Eddie (Hearn) gave me a list of names for potential opponents and we picked him out because it’s a good fight and one we can win,” he said. “It’s not a fight that worries me like others might have. I’ll make sure I walk out with the win. Any way, shape or form, I’ll get the win.
“I’ve never been in a position to have an argument for some sort of eliminator and I think I am now with the IBF belt. That’s the aim once we get past Ted next month. It’s all or nothing for the both of us. That’s the way I live in general.”
The IBF belt at 154 is currently held by Jeison Rosario, who also has the WBA title and is expected to unify with WBC titleholder Jermell Charlo this fall. This isn’t an eliminator, to eliminate any possible confusion, but could lead to the winner getting a shot at one, so the stakes are high for both of these fighters.
As for Cheeseman, he believes Eggington is going to be too small for a real 154-pounder such as himself.
“I respect Sam as a fighter,” said Cheeseman. “He’s a really good fighter, but I think he’s a massive welterweight. I think he’s a fragile (junior middleweight).”
Cheeseman also believes he’ll be the more versatile and adaptable fighter on the night.
“When push comes to shove and I stand there and start bullying him and dominating him in the middle of the ring, he hasn’t got a Plan B but I have,” he said. “If it goes wrong for me, I can box. If I start pushing him back and he can’t handle the strength or power, he has to try and fight back. If that isn’t working what does he do next? I know I can box, I’ve got that Plan B. I feel I’m going to be too big and too strong.”
One thing he does seem to agree with Eggington on is that there will be action, though Cheeseman imagines most of it coming from his fists on Eggington’s face.
“I feel like I’ll get Sam out of there in the later rounds. He’s going to have a go early on but as the rounds go on he’s going to keep on getting hit as his defense is his face. Once I keep hitting him the damage is going to come on top and one of the shots is going to land and he’s going to go.”