Ted Cheeseman says Super-Welterweight rivals Anthony Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald must “step up to the plate” and “earn the right” to face him as he prepares for the biggest test of his career next week in London.
The Bermondsey star jumps up in class again when he challenges undefeated Spaniard Sergio Garcia for the EBU European crown at The O2 on February 2, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Former GB teammates Fowler and Fitzgerald put their unbeaten records on the line when they clash in one of the most highly-anticipated domestic showdowns of the year in March, with a potential shot at Cheeseman’s British title on the line, but the champ is looking to step up again once he wins the European title.
“Once you win a European title, there’s only one step up after that,” said Cheeseman. “When you turn pro, your goal is to become a World Champion. If I win this fight on February 2, and I’m very confident that I will after studying my opponent’s style, I’m basically in line for a World title shot.
“Garcia is ranked highly with the governing bodies. Once I win this European title I’m going to have a top five World ranking with most of them, or top ten at least. He’s number 4 in the WBC rankings so I’ll take that top five spot with them. When I win next week, the World will be my oyster and I’ll only be looking ahead of me.”
‘The Big Cheese’ is on an upward trajectory after outpointing Asinia Byfield in an all-action battle for the Lonsdale belt at the Copper Box Arena in October. A fight with Liverpool’s Fowler is in high demand with the British public, and Cheeseman has previously expressed his desire to settle his feud with ‘The Machine’, but the 23-year-old wants to keep his options open ahead of a huge 2019.
“There’s a lot of potential fights being talked about and I want them to happen, but all of my focus is on performing well against Garcia and getting the win. Fowler is small fry once I’ve got the European title. What does he bring to the table, a 9-0 record against journeymen? What has he actually done? Fowler needs me, not the other way round.
“Both him and Fitzgerald need to step up to the plate and do something to earn the right to face me. They’ve got to bring something to the table. I’ll be British and European Champion with top five World ranking. What do they bring to the table? I’d need to make sure that a fight with Fowler or Fitzgerald isn’t just good for them, it’s good for me as well.
“This game is all about opportunities. There’s some massive fights to be made but it’s got to be the right opportunity for me. Maybe the Fowler fight gets made, maybe it doesn’t. Liam Smith just signed with Matchroom, he’s another Super-Welterweight. Kell Brook is in my weight class now. They are looking for other British opponents and I’m the main man on the domestic scene. These are all fights that could happen later this year.”
Felix Cash believes winning the Commonwealth Middleweight crown will earn him a shot at the Lonsdale belt currently held by Welshman Liam Williams.
The unbeaten Wokingham talent, 10-0, is keen to make up for lost time as he takes on Nigeria’s Rasheed Abolaji for the vacant Commonwealth title at The O2 on February 2, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Cash picked up the first title of his professional career after cruising to victory against Stephen Danyo at the Copper Box Arena in October. He dominated his Manchester-based Dutch opponent throughout before receiving a unanimous verdict to claim the WBC International Silver belt.
And the former Team GB amateur standout is aiming to add a second belt to his collection when he takes on Abolaji next month before targeting a shot a two-weight British Champ Liam Williams in 2019.
“A shot at a good domestic belt has been a long time coming,” said Cash. “The Commonwealth title is right up there and hopefully once I get my hands on it more fighters will be tempted to get in the ring with me. We’ve been trying to make big fights for a while now, but opponents have always priced themselves out or messed us around.
“I’ve flown under the radar a little bit for the past couple of years but my last fight was a title fight and this is for the Commonwealth. When I get the win on February 2 I can start targeting some big names in the domestic Middleweight division and show everyone what I’m really about when I step up.
“I’m looking forward to going in there and putting on a performance. The plan is to get the Commonwealth and then I want to go for the British. I’m taking things one fight at a time, but I’ve got full confidence in my abilities. Liam Williams holds the British and that’s a fight that could happen this year.
“I’ve sparred Liam before and he’s a good fighter. He boxed very well in his last fight – he looked class. You’d be lying if you said he didn’t, but I’m very confident in my abilities. I’ve sparred multiple World Champions and I know what I’ve been doing to them, and they know too. Sparring is sparring but it’s the closest thing to fighting. I know how good I am and it’s my time to show everyone.”
‘Afonja Warrior’, 27, has won six of his eleven career wins by KO and has previously fought in the UK when he took Sam Sheedy the distance in a challenge for the Commonwealth Middleweight title in 2017. Cash is expecting a hard night’s work.
“He’s quite dangerous early on so I’ll have to stick to my boxing, break him down and then go to work on him. He’s a bit of a hooker and doesn’t throw many straights. Tony says he’s very tough, so I’ll have to go down and work the body. He’ll be the best opponent I’ve faced to date, but I fully expect to come away with the win.”
Cash vs. Abolaji is part of a huge night of action in London.
Bermondsey star Ted Cheeseman steps up again when he challenges undefeated Spaniard Sergio Garcia for the European Super-Welterweight crown.
Unbeaten British Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie returns to action after his win over Matty Askin at Wembley Stadium in September.
Light-Heavyweight rivals Jake Ball and Craig Richards finally face-off in a highly-anticipated grudge match for the WBA Continental title.
Scotland’s fast-rising Super-Middleweight talent John Docherty aims to make it three KO’s from three fights, Ipswich Heavyweight Fabio Wardley looks to go 6-0, decorated amateur Charles Frankham makes his debut at Super-Featherweight and Hammersmith Light-Heavyweight Dana Zaxo takes part in his fourth professional contest.
Tickets for February 2 priced at £30, £50, £80 and £150 are (VIP) available to purchase from StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk), The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com)