Sam Bowen eyeing September return, wants British belt outright

Sam Bowen

📸 Frank Warren

Despite still having a full-time job away from boxing, working at Caterpillar in Desford, Leicestershire, Sam Bowen (15-0) is thriving as the reigning British super-featherweight champion.

A win or two more and he may have to dedicate all of his time to the sport in 2020. Away from his busy life, Bowen took some time to talk with me about his very bright future.

The British champion’s current mandatory challenger is Northern Ireland’s, Anthony Cacace. Bowen hopes to get a fight date as soon as possible and is eager to earn another notch toward winning the title outright. “Yeah, (we’re) just waiting on a date. Carl (Greaves) said hopefully we should get the date this week or next week. Towards the end of September, I think,” he explained.

He continued, “If I win in September, providing my fight’s in September, I think I’ve only got to defend it once more then I get to keep the British (title) outright. I’ve won the WBO Intercontinental since I’ve been with Frank Warren as well. I only had one fight with him and then I was already boxing for another title, so it just shows that you don’t know what’s around the corner. You get opportunities anytime.”

His manager and trainer, Carl Greaves secured Bowen his original shot at the British championship in an off-television stoppage win over Maxi Hughes, something quite unusual considering how saturated televised boxing is in the UK. The twenty-seven year-old is immensely grateful to Greaves for offering that opportunity and hopes to reward him with a world championship in the not-so-distant future, even if it comes much earlier in his career than anticipated. “I’d definitely take it unless it was a stupid offer or something. I’d definitely take a world title shot. I mean, I’m getting on a bit now and I don’t want to be waiting too much longer. I don’t want to be waiting until I’m like 33 or something like that. If it was the right offer, I mean as long as it wasn’t a stupid offer, then yeah, I’d definitely do it.”

Bowen’s last British title defence came in March against the tough and well-respected Scotsman, Jordy McCorry. A ninth-round stoppage win in a rough and tough encounter was just what his career required. “He’s a tough, come-forward kid”, he told me. “I watched him fight (Archie) Sharp the other day and the first-half of the fight he stood off a bit more and I thought, if you’d took it to him a bit more – you never know, something might have happened. He’s a tough lad and I won easily enough. I just stuck to boxing really and boxed him, then obviously laid it on him a bit and got the stoppage later on.”

It has been said on a few occasions that Bowen is somewhat of an avoided man. It was hard to match him prior to winning the 130lbs British title, but now he possesses the belt, all of a sudden the challengers come thick and fast. “I think before I had any titles – yes (I was avoided)”, he said. “There was no point in fighting me, but I don’t think anyone’s avoided me lately. I’ve not had any pull-outs or anything like that. Maybe before I won the titles, yeah, but I can understand why. You’re not going to want to box me if there’s nothing worth fighting for.”

On the horizon, should he get past Cacace, are two very interesting domestic bouts with Commonwealth champion, Zelfa Barrett and fast-rising contender, Archie Sharp. All three are aligned with Frank Warren, therefore allowing the fights to be made with relative ease. “I think sometimes the fights could be easily made because we’re all under Frank Warren, but would they want us to fight because obviously they want us to all keep winning?”, he questioned. “I’m happy to fight any of them. That’s down to Frank Warren.”

Both potential opponents are excellent talents in their own right, but I asked Sam who he felt was the most deserving of a shot at his Lonsdale belt. “It’s hard to say. I think Zelfa’s a tougher person than Sharp and I think Sharp’s obviously going to be the more awkward earlier on until you break him down. But I think Zelfa’s going to be more of a tougher opponent. He’s got a bit of toughness about him. I definitely think I beat them both. I just think Sharp will be more awkward early on trying to keep me at range for a bit until I manage to break him down and hurt him. I mean, he sat on the ropes quite a lot against Jordy. If he’s going to sit on the ropes with him – imagine me laying onto him.”