BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ted Cheeseman is set for a domestic showdown with James Metcalf – but is waiting to see how the Covid-19 pandemic affects those plans.
Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn has won the purse bid to stage the super-welterweight clash.
The British title – vacated by Scott Fitzgerald – will be on the line along with Metcalf’s Commonwealth crown.
But the British Boxing Board of Control announced at the weekend that they had suspended any bouts in January due to concerns over the spread of the virus.
“I had an exact date for the fight but I can’t go public with that in case it still goes ahead then,” said Cheeseman, 25.
“Now I don’t know if that is going to happen – we don’t know how long the ban from boxing is going to last. I’ve got to keep training and hope for the best.
“It is a massive fight. He is number five in the IBF rankings and I’m number seven – whoever wins is going to be very high in the ratings and can either then fight an eliminator or final eliminator.
“There is not much else you can do in this lockdown than train. But you do need something confirmed to push that bit harder.
“But when you have got a fight as important as this one you need to push – whether it is a date in four months or a month. Your coach knows whether it is time to step on the gas or take your foot off it.”
The financial strain of not boxing has been eased by Cheeseman’s building company – All Type Work Solutions Limited. He formed it in June 2019, shortly after coming out of rehab for a gambling addiction he estimates cost him more than £1million.
“If I was just relying on boxing then I’d probably be scrambled,” said the former Fisher amateur. “I got paid okay for my one fight last year, but it wasn’t enough money to cover that whole period.
“Luckily my building company is doing okay and that takes the pressure off. I probably could’ve fought again at the end of the year but I decided not to, because I didn’t believe the offer was strong enough to go back into a hard camp. The risk and reward didn’t add up.
“I left it and now the risk and reward does add up for this fight against Metcalf. The money is okay and it is for two good titles. If I win I am going to push on to big things and I’ll have the Commonwealth title on my resume.
“After rehab I realised that boxing isn’t going to last forever. At the start of my career I never saved a penny and so I was always one fight away from being a bit scrambled. I needed to make sure I had other sources of income.
“If I’d been a lot cleverer with my money at the start of my career then maybe I wouldn’t have got my own business. But I’m glad I did, because last year and the start of this one would be a gambler’s worst nightmare. If you’re not earning money then the plan is to try and flip any funds you have access to – to earn some money that way.
“I have a business earning money, so I didn’t think about that to make ends meet.”
Liverpool’s Metcalf is 21-0. Cheeseman’s record stands at 16-2-1 but the former British champion – who challenged for the European title in 2019 – believes he has mixed at a higher level.
“My last six or seven fights have all been 12-round title fights,” said the Bermondsey puncher. “It’s hard to judge how good he is until he faces me.
“It’s the same as the Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell fight at the weekend. Everyone thought Garcia was a good fighter, but he had to go out there and prove it.
“My head’s in the right place and I’ve learned a lot over the last few years. It’s time to really push on.”
PICTURES: MARK ROBINSON/MATCHROOM BOXING
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