British Super Featherweight champion Sam Bowen makes the second defence of his British Super Featherweight title against Anthony Cacace on Saturday in Birmingham with preparations having gone much better than they did for his last bout.
In March, Bowen fought Jordan McCorry in the first defence of his title with a ninth round TKO following unanswered shots to head and body in the middle of the ring, which was enough for referee Marcus McDonnell to call a halt to matters. McCorry gave an honest account of himself and made Bowen work in every round. In the final fortnight of preparations Bowen was worried if he would be able to go the distance.
“I had a stomach bug and didn’t know how I was going to get through the fight,” Bowen told Boxing Scene.
“It were bang on two weeks before the fight I got the bug. A week before the fight, when you’re getting your weight down, I’d lost that much weight from not eating I had to get myself back strong. I thought, I ain’t going to have any energy. That was one concern because I thought, as the rounds go on am I going to get tired or not but I felt quite good, I was surprised.”
A couple of days after being struck down by the bug he received a call from his trainer Carl Greaves telling him that BT Sports wanted to film him hitting a punch bag for some promotional work for the McCorry fight.
“I did a round and I couldn’t do no more,” Bowen recalled.
“I felt so weak. I thought I was going to pass out. I looked good for a round but I was done after that. And then I just rested the week of the fight and recovered, and luckily I didn’t feel bad for the fight but it ain’t good to have a stomach bug coming up to a fight. It did take it out of me at the time.”
In previous fights Bowen had to find a balancing act of working 40+ hour weeks for engineering company Caterpillar while finding the time to train around his shifts. It was necessary at the time but Bowen recently waved goodbye to his job, building digger engines, to concentrate on a boxing career which has the potential of going beyond British level.
“I’m just relieved knowing that I ain’t got to go back to getting up at stupid o’clock. Really long days,” he said, admitting that he rarely saw daylight during his time working and training.
“Now I’ve been training for this [fight] full time I’ve got to make sure I win and go from there. It’ll look stupid if I don’t win. It won’t look great. I haven’t been putting much stress on myself though.”
He admits, however, should a productive and rewarding 2020 not come his way then he could be left with little choice but to go back to work.
“If I win this fight then don’t fight for another six months that’s not going to cover my family. I’m not stressing. I know I’ve got a fight. Get this fight out the way and we can assess things after. I enjoy working, to be fair. I didn’t realise how much free time I would have after leaving my job and it does get a bit boring. If I had to work part time, so be it. I do get a bit bored. I’m used to training full time and working 48 hours a week.”
Unbeaten in fifteen fights thanks to a high work-rate, devilish punching and a relentlessness you might not want to face even on your best day Bowen, like many Brits, would be happy to win the British title outright but his laid back attitude allows him to travel down whatever route is deemed necessary.
“My fights are few and far between at the moment. I just take each one as it is. I ain’t really that fussed what the route is as long as I’m fighting. I’m not fussed. Just as long as I’m actually fighting. Any fight is better than no fight.”
In Anthony Cacace he may well get his toughest assignment to date. The thirty-year old from Belfast has suffered with inactivity in his own career but certainly has the tools to cause Bowen some problems as he showed against Martin J Ward when he last challenged for the British 130lbs title back in 2017.
“I’ve watched a couple of his fights,” says Bowen. He looks quite awkward. He’s quite rangy and throws his shots long and rangy and I’m expecting a tough fight. I know he’s strong, everyone says he hits hard. I know there are sparring stories about him and how hard he hits but I hit hard too. I’ve been sparring more than what I usually do. I’ve had a lot more rounds than normal and feeling quite good so it should be a good performance.”