More to come: Liam Cameron interview
Commonwealth middleweight champion Liam Cameron reflects on the fight that won him the title last year, and tells Shaun Brown he is targeting Tommy Langford or Jack Arnfield in 2018...
Liam Cameron was going to quit boxing had he lost to Sam Sheedy in October last year.
The 27-year-old went into their Sheffield derby for the Commonwealth middleweight title having put a lot into boxing over the years, but not fully getting the rewards that were out there waiting to be grabbed.
Having collapsed before weigh-ins and been sick because of it in the past, Cameron (20-5, 8 KOs) made sure such awful incidents were a thing of the past thanks to the help of a dietitian it's now full steam ahead for Cameron who took Sheedy's title after a highly entertaining fight that showed how much the belt and local bragging rights meant to each man.
"I knew I weren't going to lose because a lot was on the line. My kid, my little India, I had to win for her and I gritted it down. Did a big hard training camp and I won. I was so buzzing," a still elated Cameron told Boxing Monthly.
Before this stronger and fitter version of Cameron took to the Ponds Forge Arena to beat Sheedy there had been times where, as he put it in his Yorkshire brogue: "I'd be dying a death. Couldn't do five rounds [in sparring]".
Where once five sessions during camp could not be reached Cameron can now do 20 rounds each day! "It's that diet what's done it for me," he explained. "I've always been looking for the missing piece of the jigsaw and it's been that. Now I've got a dietitian who's from Sheffield United and he's very good. He's got a lot of knowledge."
The sheer size and strength of Cameron simply overwhelmed his southpaw opponent, now retired, which included the challenger putting the champion down three times in round four. A round where Sheedy took a beating only to come back time and time again with the kind of valiancy that never ceases to surprise us.
"I was that sick of putting him down I wanted him to stay down. When they keep getting up I'm like what do I need to do here?" recalled Cameron who couldn't help but let out a light laugh still somewhat surprised that Sheedy refused to stop.
Sheedy would visit the canvas two more times in round seven before referee Phil Edwards intervened in round eight after Sheedy took more and more unanswered punches.
Cue elation for Cameron, and relief too. A third attempt at winning Commonwealth honours had been successful after Luke Blackledge (at super middleweight) and Zac Dunn (back at middleweight and in Australia) had previously thwarted him.
At the time of writing Cameron is still searching for an opponent for his second defence as Commonwealth champion, after English titlist Elliott Matthews had to withdraw from their 14 April clash at York Hall due to a longer than expected recovery from a shoulder operation.
Being a champion brings its own new found confidence and Cameron is loving the moment and the feeling. He told BM that his team (led by promoter Dennis Hobson) had offered a fight to former 154lbs world title challenger Brian Rose but were turned down.
A rejection that prompted Cameron to say to us: "He [Rose] said he needs a warm-up fight, but he's been there and done it and fought for a world title. Why does he need a warm-up fight? We'll see. I'm ready for anyone in that [middleweight] top ten. I'm gunning for them all."
Also in his sights is the winner of the now confirmed British middleweight title fight for 17 February between (champion) Tommy Langford and (challenger) Jack Arnfield.
"I think Arnfield is going to scrape it," Cameron predicted. "I think Arnfield's a bit better. I don't know how it's going to come together but I favour Arnfield, yeah. I think he's got a voluntary after that. If we both win I told him on Twitter I'd put him to sleep. We'll see if he takes the bite and offers me the fight but I doubt it."
Cameron has come a long way since the weight problems and being sat in dressing rooms emotional wondering why everything isn't clicking. The trip to Australia to take on Dunn - where Team Cameron featured just himself, his girlfriend and his trainer - was where the penny dropped.
Despite claims by Cameron that there were threats of "kill the pommy bastard" made at the weigh in by Dunn's father, and cut-throat gestures made by members of the crowd, Cameron survived. He may have lost but he gained a boost and the biggest victory would come just under a year later in his next fight against Sheedy.
"The eye opener was going to Australia. I knew I had to up my game. I know I'm capable because I've sparred with everyone and give them nightmares. I thought I've got up my game or I'll go nowhere in the sport. For that Sheedy fight I trained hard for ten weeks. I trained absolute solidly and looked what it showed I could do. There's more to come from me."