Scouse welterweight Steven Lewis is starting to cause a commotion with his exploits between the ropes.
The quiet man from the upwardly mobile Everton Red Triangle gym run by brothers Paul and Mick Stevenson has knocked up a perfect 8-0 slate since debuting back in October 2012 and is fresh off a career high two round blowout of Stoke’s Kevin Hanks in March.
‘I’m never very comfortable talking about myself,’ says the mean looking but extremely modest 22 year old
‘I wasn’t looking for a kayo against Hanks. I was just looking to execute the technical stuff I’d been working on with Paul and Mick in the gym, setting me combinations up.
‘My mate videoed the fight on his phone and it looks like I finished Kev with the old one-two but he told me after that it was a body shot that hurt him. It’s nice to know I can punch if I need to.’
It was the third victim that the 5ft 9in powerhouse had sent for an early shower.
He says: ‘People go on about my strength but, in the amateurs, I was always more a back foot boxer. I never touched weights before I joined the pros but now it’s a part of my strength and conditioning program and I really notice the benefit. But mostly I think it’s a case that, since turning pro, improvements in my technique have allowed my natural power to come through.’
The Neil Marsh managed welter from West Derby is a rising starlet at the city’s most successful pro stable. Every day he trains alongside the likes of ex Olympian Courtney Fry, European flyweight king Kevin Satchell, British super-bantam boss Jazza Dickens and one-time Luke Campbell conqueror Ryan Farrag.
‘I’m very privileged,’ acknowledges Lewis.
‘The knowledge that Paul and Mick possess is unbelievable. They’ve three or four answers for every question. The volume of champions they brought through in the amateur ranks tells you all you need to know about their ability as coaches.’
‘I’m surrounded by quality fighters every day. Their skills are unbelievable and after I’ve finished my session I sit and watch the others; ‘Satch’ is fantastic working on the inside, ‘Jazza’ has brilliant footwork and Farrag can really scrap. They’re all quality in different areas.’
‘Courtney’s too big to spar and the others are too small so we travel or bring kids in. In the past, I’ve worked with Frankie Gavin and Adam Little and, lately, I’ve sparred Matty Hall. It’s the best way to learn.’
One of the classical old divisions, the 147lb welterweight category is presently vibrant at both international and domestic level. In less than three weeks time, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao lock horns in Las Vegas to determine the sport’s top dog, pound for pound. It is the Fight of this Millennium and, like everybody else, Lewis can’t wait.
‘You’ve got to go with Mayweather,’ he says.
‘People say he’s never faced anything like Pacquiao but that’s rubbish. He’s mastered every style and beaten better fighters than Pacquiao in (Miguel) Cotto and ‘Canelo’ (Alvarez). Floyd’s power is seriously underestimated and I’d not be at all surprised if he walked Manny onto a shot and stopped him inside the first six rounds.’
In Amir Khan and Kell Brook, young Lewis has two world class Brits to aspire to, but behind them comes a crop of highly gifted home prospects such as Bradley Skeete, Ahmet Patterson, Glenn Foot and Sam Eggington. It shouldn’t be too long before big hitting Steven is bumping noses with them.
He says: ‘I hear it’s a very strong division but I don’t really watch much boxing unless it’s the big world class stars or lads out of our gym. I’ll fight whoever my team put me up against. I leave it all to them.’
On Saturday, at the Echo Arena in his home city, he makes his second start of 2015 in a six rounder and intends to leave a lasting impression.
‘I feel I’m really learning and developing with each fight so the plan for this year is to be as busy as I can be,’ he concludes.
‘The Echo is a boss venue. It’s where I’m from and I always do over a hundred tickets.
‘I’m still only 22, so I’ve plenty of time on my side. But if all goes to plan, Saturday will be my last six rounder. I’ll move on to eight rounders and hopefully a Central Area or something similar before the end of the year.
‘I don’t know too much about my opponent and I’ll not be diving in rash trying for a spectacular finish but I’m confident it’ll come…..same as last time!’
Tickets are available from the Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400 or echoarena.com and Eventim on 0844 249 1000 or eventim.co.uk
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