Shifty Sheffield southpaw Sam Sheedy is promising to spice up the domestic middleweight scene, writes Glynn Evans.
After a sombre eight year pro apprenticeship, the 28 year old from the Steel City intends to announce himself by upsetting unbeaten Baggie bomber Tommy Langford in what looks a quality pairing for the Commonwealth and vacant British titles at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday week. BoxNation screen live.
‘All Langford has got is fitness,’ claims ‘Speedy’ Sheedy who has won 17 of 18.
‘He’s a boring straight up boxer. He’s good at what he does – jab, right hand – but there’s no boisterousness, no flamboyancy. I’ve got far more ability and personality than Langford.
‘I guarantee Tommy’s not as mentally strong as me and I also believe he’s got a suspect chin. He was rocked several times in the amateurs and is frightened of taking a shot. His brother was just the same. It runs in the family!’
The slippery 5ft 11in skilster from Glyn Rhodes’ Sheffield Boxing Centre earned his chance with a wafer thin 10 round split decision over Redditch roughhouse Andrew ‘D’Animal’ Robinson at Rotherham’s Magna Centre in late July. However, slammin’ Sam warns it would be foolish to judge him on that close shave.
‘Back then, I was training very hard but not very intelligently. I was focussing too much on
strength and not enough on boxing,’ states Sheedy who is managed by AJ Hobson.
‘Going into the fight I picked up a bad back injury and, even on adrenalin, was only operating at about 70%. I was unable to warm up and my dressing room, which is usually bubbling, was really down.
‘I was unable to move properly and didn’t perform anywhere near as well as I could’ve. Robinson really stepped up his game and was relentless. I’ve still no idea how I managed to get through.’
Though the showdown with Langford represents his first major title gig, the former bricklayer has been honing his fighting skills for 17 years.
‘When I were 11, the Rocky films were on TV on consecutive Saturday nights and that’s when I fell in love with boxing,’ he explains.
‘I started going to the Sheffield Boxing Centre and, though I were never a natural scrapper, I immediately became fascinated by the art of boxing, the tactical side. For me, it was physical chess, trying to outwit the opponent. I loved the science behind it; make ‘em miss, make ‘em pay!’
‘I only won 26 of my 52 amateur bouts. Our matchmaker didn’t match us to win, he matched us to learn and I served a good apprenticeship. I won a lot more towards the end of my amateur career and fought some good lads. Liam Smith beat me in the junior ABA semis.
‘I have to blame Glyn a bit for my lack of success in the amateurs. He were pretty disliked by the amateur brigade. Our gym got no favours.’
Sheedy opted to punch for pay shortly after his 20th birthday and nailed the Central Area super-welter belt with a savage one round slaughter of Doncaster’s Jason Ball in start number seven.
However, impressive early career wins over the likes of Terry Carruthers, Max Maxwell and Bradley Pryce sent rival contenders diving into their bunkers and Sam’s passage to title contention proved laborious.
He explains: ‘My problem is, I drive opponents insane!
‘People don’t even want to spar with me because I’m so awkward and tricky. After our fight, Bradley Pryce tweeted he’d never boxed anyone as tricky as me and he’s been in with all the champions. However, because I’m not with a big promoter, it’s been easy to avoid me.
‘On top of that, early in my career I had almost two years out with an injury. My hip kept popping out of the socket which restricted my running and eventually I got fed up with it. But everything that’s happened in the past has just set me up for now. I couldn’t be more switched on.’
His aspirations were further thwarted when he copped the rough end of a 10 round tear up with fellow Tyke Nav Mansouri for the English super-welter strap 16 months ago. It remains the solitary blemish on his slate.
‘From my end, nothing went wrong in the Mansouri fight,’ claims Sheedy who dropped a split.
‘I know of only two people in the hall that night who thought Nav won but unfortunately both happened to be judges! Nav’s a very good friend of mine but we both know who really won.
‘But boxing down at light-middle my power was restricted and I was content to just cruise to victory. Today, up at 160, I’m a different animal. I’m bullying 14st men in sparring.
‘Having survived the bombs of the likes of Bradley Pryce, Nav and Andrew Robinson, I know I’ve got a good chin. Now I’m more prepared to risk taking a few to land my own power punches.’
And the cocksure contender claims the minor injuries to headline acts Billy Joe Saunders and Liam Williams which forced the Cardiff carnival to be placed on hold for five weeks have significantly increased his chance of springing an upset.
‘Initially the Langford camp thought they’d got me on three and a half weeks notice but, because of the delay, now I’ve had a nine week camp. There’ll be no excuses from my end,’ says Sheedy, the mandatory Commonwealth challenger, who was slipped in after Chris Eubank Jnr cried off.
‘Langford’s not even the best fighter I’ve faced – Nav Mansouri is better – but it will be the biggest occasion of my career. Still, I was made for the cameras and I’ll thrive off the atmosphere.
‘I expect Tommy to try to steam me early but he’ll be too eager. I’ll catch him with my counters and finish him, probably with my left hook over the top. He can’t survive the bombs that Andrew Robinson withstood.’
‘I’ve served my apprenticeship under the radar and now I’m ready for all the major titles. Though I’m 28, I’m still very young, very fresh. Victory in Cardiff will give me options left, right and centre.
‘Tommy’s already found his level but I want so much more. I won’t only be British and Commonwealth champion, I intend to rule the world!’
Remaining tickets for November 26 priced £40, £70, £100, £150 and £200 are available from www.motorpointarena.com (029 2022 4488), www.eventim.com (0844 249 1000) and www.ticketmaster.co.uk (0844 8440 444).
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