Fighter Feature: Ted Cheeseman
By James Hailston
Boxing can be one of the loneliest sports. Even when winning there are still consistent elements of loneliness a fighter has to go through. Whilst the fans and even in some instances the family of a fighter only witness the bright lights, big shiny belts and hands being raised, behind closed doors the fighter has to endure regular tests of their resolve and that’s before they even reach the first bell.
The early morning alarms, long lonely runs, niggling injuries, disciplined diet, nights in alone and tortuous training sessions are all worth it when your hand is the one being raised and your changing room is the noisy one with lots of smiles on faces. But what about when after all the hard work your hand isn’t raised and your changing room is a quiet one with more questions than answers?
For the first time in his professional career Ted Cheeseman experienced the latter after dropping a points decision against Sergio Garcia in his bid to win the European super welterweight strap at the O2 in his home city of London. Despite a valiant effort in which he showed how tough he is – he probably gained some supporters with his will to win – he fell short on the night. He never stopped trying and certainly had his moments of success but Garcia was too busy, accurate and in the end too good. It was maybe a case of going to far too soon.
The 23 year old Bermondsey man turned pro back in 2015 under the Matchroom promotional banner after a decent amateur career. Having only just turned 20 when he made his pro debut there was plenty of time to build him up and allow him to mature. However, so impressed were his handlers at how he was developing and the exciting style he brought to the ring that he was moved along slightly quicker than most prospects of his age and experience.
An English champion after 9 fights, he then took on the past his best but still dangerous and seasoned Carson Jones in his 13th contest. Another victory in a very good performance from Cheeseman saw the plaudits increase. By the time he’d extended his record to a perfect 15-0 (9kos) with another points win over the rangy, awkward Asinia Byfield to capture the British title people were really starting to take notice. Of course then came the defeat to Garcia. Admirers became doubters and critics were finally given some ammunition to fire.
But Cheeseman, who still holds his British title, can come again. His style is very entertaining. In an era where box office fights seem to have become a regular thing he is one fighter you can usually rely on to get your money’s worth. Aggressive and tenacious he rarely takes a step back. He works behind a high guard and likes to put plenty of power into most of the shots he throws. He has good shot variation when doing this too. Physically as he showed in the Garcia fight he’s very tough and has a good work rate. However, if I was going to be critical of parts of his game it would be his reluctance to avoid what’s coming the other way. A lack of head movement as well as a bad habit of being flat footed when walking opponents down means he’s not the hardest to connect with. If anything he can sometimes be too eager to engage and doesn’t always give himself the room to show how good his boxing skills can be.
But at 23, with a Lonsdale belt and a solid resume to show for his past efforts he should still have his best nights ahead of him. On Friday night at York Hall Bethnal Green he’ll get the chance to show everyone what he’s learnt from his first defeat when he takes on Kieron Conway.
It’s a defence of his title and one he’ll be expected to come through. Big fights with the likes of Scott Fitzgerald and Anthony Fowler could await him in the future but first he has to make sure his hand is raised this weekend and it’s the happy, smiley, noisy changing room he becomes familiar with once again.