Liverpool welterweight Steven Lewis won a brace of national junior titles as a teenager before taking a break from the fight game.
And since returning as a pro in October 2012, the 21 year old from the feted Everton Red Triangle gym has racked up four successive wins, including two stoppages.
He features on the big Aintree Racecourse show in a four-rounder against Brighton’s Kevin McCauley on the undercard of Paul Butler’s WBO/WBA International Super-Flyweight titles against Diego Liriano.
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Prior to departing for some warm weather training at Matt Macklin’s gym in Marbella, boxing writer Glynn Evans caught up with Steven to delve into his background and discuss his dreams.
Name: Steven Lewis
Born: Fazakerley Hospital
Family background: I’m the youngest of four; two sisters and a brother. He never boxed. Neither did my dad. I live in West Derby with me folks. I’ve no kids yet.
Trade: I used to do a bit of ground work and tarmacing but now I’m a full-time boxer.
Nickname: ‘Ste’. I hate being called Steve.
What age did you become interested in boxing and why? When all the other kids were out playing footy, I was at the boxing gym from the age of 10 or 11. I just got into it from watching fights on TV with me dad. I was never much of a (street) fighter as a kid.
What do you recall of your amateur career? When I very first started, I went to the Tuebrook (ABC) gym. Starting at 11, I had my first four bouts with them, winning two, losing two. Then I moved to Long Lane ABC. (Ex British and Commonwealth heavyweight king) David Price had been at the gym before I joined. The coaches there were Peter Campbell and Ian Dunford.
I had 48 amateur fights, winning 41 or 42. I won the junior ABAs and National CYPs plus a silver at the junior Three Nations tournament. I lost in the final to Sam McNess of the Repton, who I’d beaten in the junior ABA final.
I never entered the senior ABAS. I packed the boxing up for a year around the age of 18, 19 because I was working and found it hard…..plus I found girls and beer. I preferred going out with the lads.
I got an England vest at the Three Nations, boxing twice. I also went over to Ireland with the England team but I didn’t box. I’ve no regrets regarding my amateur career. I’m happy with the way it went.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? When I came back to boxing from my break, I just felt ready, felt it was the right time to turn over.
Tell us about your back up team: I’m managed by Neil Marsh, promoted by Queensberry and trained by Paul and Mick Stevenson who run the Everton Red Triangle gym. Mick and Paul are brothers. They see things differently but end up with the same point of view. They’re very, very knowledgeable and I feel as if I’m learning something new every day.
What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I train at the boxing gym from Monday to Friday mornings and I run every evening afterwards. I also have a run on Saturday morning and take the whole of Sunday off.
At the gym, I’ll loosen up with some stretching and shadow boxing, then may have a little skip. Paul and Mick will write everyone’s schedule up on the board. We’ll rotate between pads, bags and sometimes some sparring. I get quality spars with the likes of (ex Olympian) Tom Stalker and (ex World Junior bronze medallist) Nathan Brough. I’ve also been away to spar Tommy Coyle and Frankie Gavin.
We’ll finish off with a ten station circuit which we all do together. It gets very competitive and we push each other on. I’ll finish with a little shake off and stretch.
My favourite part is the pads. Paul and Mick are both brilliant and we learn some proper technical stuff. I hate getting up for running but, once I’m out, I’m usually alright.
Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I like to be loose and keep my shots long. As an amateur, I was pretty back foot but I’m sitting down on my shots more as a pro and my power is starting to come through. I like a left hook to the body.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? Everything. I’ve still got so much to learn in every aspect.
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? They’re very different. You no longer have to worry about point scoring or suffering a standing count every time you’re caught clean. In the pros you just re-set and go again.
Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? I’d probably have to say sparring my stablemate Jazza Dickens but it’s hard to put my finger on why. He just mesmerizes you….then he hits you!
All time favourite fighter: I’ll go with Mike Tyson. As a young kid, before I understood too much about the subtleties of the sport, I just loved watching him flatten people!
All time favourite fight: Tyson-Holyfield II when Mike bit his ear!
Which current match would you most like to see made? I’d still like to see Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao. I think Floyd would be too clever. People forget how quick he is.
What is your routine on fight day? It’s pretty much like any other day until I get to the arena, to be honest. I’ll usually get up at about eight and walk to the shop to get the paper. At the level I’m at now, I usually weigh-in on the day, at the venue, but I never eat much anyway. I’ll still have a bit of cereal in the morning and maybe a bit of chicken later.
After that I’ll just watch tele. It’s only when we get to the venue that I’ll start to switch on me ‘fight head’. Even then, in the changing rooms, I’m a quiet one. I get into the zone, listening to everyone else, trying to pick stuff up. I don’t even listen to music.
I’ll start to get fired up once I start hitting the pads, waiting for my time.
Entrance music: ‘Say My Name’ by Calvin Harris and Florence and the Machine.
What are your ambitions as a boxer? I take each fight as it comes and try not to look too far ahead. But like every young fighter, I aspire to be world champion and I don’t see why it can’t happen.
How do you relax? I watch a bit of footy and go out with my mates who, like me, are into bikes and cars.
Football team: Everton. I’ve got a season ticket.
Read: I don’t read much other than the Liverpool Echo and Daily Star (newspapers).
Music: Dance music plus a bit of R’n’B.
Films/TV: I like the ‘Fast and Furious’ film series. I also liked ‘Goodfellas’. On TV, E4 is my favourite channel. I always put it on after returning home from the gym.
Aspiration in life: To die with no regrets. Be happy with what I’ve achieved in boxing and other areas of life.
Motto: Take each day as it comes.