More to come from Cardle
Upon turning professional, a young fighter is inundated with information and technical skills. The months fly by as the gym becomes a classroom and days are spent learning. Once the daily grind becomes routine and the opponents become tougher, arguably the most important quality you can acquire comes to the fore; learning to block out negativity and build belief and confidence in your own ability.
British lightweight champion Scott Cardle (18-0, 5KOs) has received plenty of plaudits since his successful move into title class, but the 25-year-old from Lytham St. Annes also had to endure his fair share of criticism while he worked his way into contention.
Cardle learns his trade under the watchful eye of Joe Gallagher. Gallagher himself attracts plenty of criticism on social media but maintains his conviction in his own methods and concerns himself with nothing except his work. That single-mindedness has been rewarded with a series of titles. It would have been impossible for Cardle not to have subconsciously adopted the same mindset.
“One thing about Joe is that he’s an absolute student of the sport,” Cardle told BM. “Some might say he's a bit of a geek, but he’s been absolutely ideal for me since I turned pro. Everything that we’ve worked on per fight has been absolutely spot on and all the shot variations and everything have been brilliant. The transition from amateur to pro has been quite an eye opener for me and it’s been a pleasure to see the way Joe works, never mind being a part of it. When I’m sitting back watching him training the likes of Scott Quigg and Anthony Crolla, I sit back and watch the detail he goes into. He does the same with me and the rest of the boys. He’s a perfectionist and that’s something I’ve never really witnessed before.
“It’s the focus and confidence he gives you. You don’t have to bite back at these little comments because you know within yourself that you’re good enough to beat whoever you train for. That’s what Joe drills in to you and that’s why you’ll never seen any animosity coming from us. We just get on with the job in hand and we usually end up victorious from it.”
The latest step in Cardle’s career will come on 19 September when he defends his British title against Welsh war machine Gary Buckland at Liverpool Olympia (live on Sky Sports). Buckland may have spent countless rounds sparring slick IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby but is reaching the tail end of his career and will need to drag out one more huge effort to outmuscle a younger, faster - and confident - champion under the lights.
Buckland will never give anybody an easy night’s work, however, and Cardle (pictured right) can be assured of a stern examination. He will need the power he showed when stopping Kirk Goodings to keep Buckland off. Also the roughness and toughness he showed in patches during the Craig Evans fight to fend him off inside as well as the angles and quick hands that characterised his early appearances.
“I don’t think Buckland’s over yet,” said Cardle. “I think he’s got a lot left in the tank and I think he’ll show that on the night. It’s a crowd pleaser and I’m getting more excited for the fight. I think the clash of styles will be quite exciting and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve just got to stay switched on throughout the whole fight and make sure there are no places for errors. If all goes according to plan it’ll be a great fight and a great night for myself.
“As soon as you win the British title, it’s time to excel from there. Hopefully, I can do that in the next couple of fight and maybe get to European status. The Lonsdale belt was a dream for many kids and it’s always been a dream of mine to win it, but I’m not satisfied in a way. I want more. It spurs you on to go on for much more than that.
“I can’t believe how many people have been over the moon just to have their photo taken with it [the Lonsdale belt] though! I’m happy to give photos out and let people put it around their waist but it surprises me how big of an achievement it is. It doesn’t really sink in until you see something like that.”
It is said that a fighter turned champ improves from anything between 10% and 25% depending on which version of the old cliche you choose to believe but Cardle doesn’t feel like a new man since joining the Gallagher’s Gym champions row. Belts are checked at the door at the Bolton gym and Cardle's successful title tilt didn’t double as some kind of rite of passage into the inner ‘Champions’ sanctum. The former Team GB member insists he has worked on an equal footing as his illustrious gym mates since his very first session.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve felt like that [a different fighter],” Cardle told BM. I know we have a lot of titles in the gym but when you walk in you’re just a beginner. Everyone is on the same level as each other. I don’t feel much different to be honest. I’m the same old ‘Scotty’ and I’ve got to keep that momentum and mentality. I don’t like getting too far ahead of myself and the likes of the Gary Buckland fight could be an upset because he’s still got a lot in the tank. I keep focusing on the job in hand.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon with the titles I’ve got and the fights I’ve won but I just feel like there’s so much more to come from me,” he continued.
“I think the way I’ve done my professional career so far has been ideal. I’ve taken my own time and learned at my own pace really. I’ve steadily grown as a pro and as a champion. Now I’m at a good British level and it’s time to move on. I’m still in no rush, but I feel it’s time to step up and fight the likes of Buckland and whoever comes next. It’s time to show myself.”
Photo: Lawrence Lustig.