PREVIEW: CHEESEMAN VS FITZGERALD
Saturday night at the Newcastle Arena sees Ted ‘The Big Cheese’ Cheeseman defend his super welterweight British title against Scott ‘The Mad Man’ Fitzgerald. With three years of age, four fights and six months of professional experience the statistical difference between these two fighters, this is a close and intriguing fight; a fight which will steer a rewarding course of opportunity and increased remuneration for the winner and likely result in a confused period of doubt and halted progression for the loser.
Of the two, Cheeseman, 24, turned professional first in September 2015. He has a 17-fight professional record of 15-1-1, currently holds the British super welterweight title, has held the English and WBA international super welterweight titles and suffered his only loss challenging for the EBU European super welterweight title against Sergio Garcia (30-0) back in February. That loss was comprehensive and uncontentious, an acknowledged setback that Cheeseman has since implied had a demoralising, confidence-checking effect.
He returned in June, defending his British title against Kieron Conway (12-1-1) with a split decision draw. In truth, this result flattered Conway. Whilst Cheeseman’s open defence can hardly be described as impervious, he deserved a wide decision victory; but comes into Saturday’s fight, on paper at least, inauspiciously off the back of a defeat and a draw.
Contrasting Cheeseman’s recent form, Scott Fitzgerald, 27, comes into the fight following a satisfying career-high victory against rivalled domestic prospect and conceited pontificator, Anthony Fowler (10-1). A fighter once known more widely to the publicans and cocaine dealers of central Lancashire, victory over Fowler elevated Fitzgerald’s growing popularity to cult domestic status and further showcased the improving skill set which led him to gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
There have long been question marks as to whether Fitzgerald is mentally stable or undistracted enough to fulfil a potential which has been tipped to claim British, European and possibly World titles. Yet, in a period of restrained sobriety and himself now a father, it seems as though the Preston native with an undefeated record of 13-0 has now found requisite motivation, aspiration and desire to shoot for those goals.
Whilst not a true crossroads fight – in the sense that neither is too old or battle-worn to, in boxing parlance, come again – this fight on Saturday is, therefore, a significant, consequential contest for both men. Whoever wins will likely soon challenge for European honours; whomever loses, will have to reconsolidate and consequently begin a lengthier rebuilding process. But with two loses on his record rather than one, a loss for Cheeseman will likely hamper his progression more so than it would for Fitzgerald.
This well-matched fight contains narrow odds, intrigue and uncertainty; it is indicative of the bravery and riskful willingness of both men. Only one can prevail. Find out who on Saturday.