No boxer in Britain today provides excitement quite as consistently as Sam Eggington. He’s expecting to deliver another thriller when he fights this Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
For the last two years Eggington has won consecutive Fight of the Year accolades at the British Boxing Board of Control awards.
“It’s what you know. It’s so much easier for me to go in there and have a war that it will shock some people,” Eggington told Sky Sports. “I enjoy what I do. If I have to go to hell and back then that’s what we’ll do.”
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On Saturday at Coventry’s Skydome Arena he will box Poland’s unbeaten Przemyslaw Zysk. “I’m always ready,” Eggington said. “I know how my fights go, so we always prepare for that.”
In September, Eggington came through a punishing battle to beat Bilel Jkitou in a bout that won the Board’s 2021 Fight of the Year award. His points reverse to Ted Cheeseman saw him win the same prize in 2020.
“I know that my fights are going to end up in a slug-fest, a gruelling night’s work. So I prepare for that. If I get in there and I throw a shot and it puts them out early then that’s great. But if I don’t I know that I’ve got to drag them there and keep them there until they give up,” Eggington said.
“When I’m in the ring, it kills me as well. I don’t know if I’ve got another four rounds, three rounds but I’ll always make it. I genuinely put that down to I work hard constantly.”
His trainer Jon Pegg sees Eggington as Britain’s most exciting fighter. “Deep down people want to outbox people, people want to have a fight where they don’t get hit if they can help it. He genuinely enjoys it,” Pegg said.
“Even people who beat him, he drags them into the kind of fight they never want to be in again [but] Sam looks for that. That’s the difference and that’s why he keeps doing them.”
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Eggington has the elements that make for must-watch fights. Pegg explained, “He’s not a big one-punch hitter, he hits hard. He’s got a good chin and he doesn’t clinch. So basically he’s just got the kind of ingredients that make for good fights.
“You try and find a fight where he initiates a clinch,” he added. “I’ve never seen him do it in sparring, let alone a fight.
“He has to wear you down, he likes knocking people out, so he’s going to try and wear you down. He isn’t super defensive and he’s super fit. It’s all the ingredients of a fight, isn’t it?”
There are aspects to his boxing that Eggington believes go unappreciated. “It’s not I’m trying to avoid shots and getting pummelled from pillar to post. I’m in tight, I’m moving, I’m riding shots, I’m throwing my own punches,” he said. “I do ride shots, I do take them on the shoulders and I dodge as many as I can.”
His bouts turn into wars because that’s how he likes to fight, he says. “I do look like I’ve come out of World War Three every time but it’s not because someone’s dragged me there, it’s because I take it there willingly,” Sam noted.
“He can’t help himself,” his trainer added. “We’ve built the kind of engine that can do it relentlessly. And when you know the other guy’s getting tired and you’re not, it’s even more enjoyable.
“He’s just built different. Mentally and the way he trains. When everyone else is moaning, he’s just going at it relentlessly.”
The way Eggington approaches his fights presents its own challenges to the man in his corner. “With Sam it’s like you’re steering a runaway train. It’s no good trying to take over it. It’s no good sitting back and going, ‘Oh he’ll be fine.’ You’ve got to just steer it as best you can and hopefully it ends up where you want it,” Pegg said. “You’ve got to try, but you’re not totally in control, if you know what I mean!
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“When he goes for it, he leaves himself at risk. [But] he wouldn’t have all the success of what he does if he didn’t take all them risks.”
Eggington, now a 38-bout veteran, is willing to keep pushing himself to his limits. “I boxed my first 10-rounder when I was 18 for a Midlands title against a guy who was 28,” he said. “I’d never fought more than a four-rounder. I just think in boxing unless you’re a huge name and you’ve got someone behind you, you’ve got to take your chances as they come, and if you’re not willing to take the chances as they come then you’re probably in the wrong place. I mean boxing’s a hard game and you’ve got to watch what you’re doing but if you haven’t got the backing you need to take your chances.
“I believe take your chances, win or lose it will make you a better fighter for it.”
‘The world titles will scatter’
Eggington believes this Saturday’s fight with Zysk will lead on to greater opportunity
Sam Eggington fights Przemyslaw Zysk live on Sky Sports this Saturday with an IBO super-welterweight belt on the line.
The IBO is not one of the major sanctioning bodies but to Eggington it’s an opportunity to put himself in the frame for bigger fights to come.
“For Sam, who was told he wouldn’t win a Midlands Area [title], this is a big deal to him,” his trainer Jon Pegg said. “You never know, sometimes the big, huge world champions want unification fights but all the other guys are too held up. So they look round and [see] the IBO, it’s still recognised, that could be a unification fight. You never know what doors are going to open.
“There’s not many people more deserving than Sam to have a crazy fight dropped in his lap… You know he isn’t going to say no to it and you know he’s going to go out there throwing hands.”
Eggington believes the major world title fights could eventually become available, if undisputed champion Jermell Charlo moves up in weight.
“After the last couple of weigh-ins, he’s big. I have a feeling that he’ll go up and he’ll scatter a lot of the belts about. So we’ll see what happens but we want to get this one first,” Eggington told Sky Sports News.
“I’ve never really planned anything. I’ve just taken the opportunities as they come. So we’ll win this one and then, fingers crossed, something will come off the back of that.”
First, he is anticipating another battle when he boxes Zysk this weekend. “The way he boxes, the way I box, it can only stand for a good fight. I don’t think either of us are going to get in there and start boxing and moving,” he said.
“I have to wait and see what happens but I’m confident. We’ve done everything we can and I’m ready to go.”
Watch Sam Eggington vs Przemyslaw Zysk, Karriss Artingstall’s pro debut, Adam Azim and more live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event this Saturday at 7pm.