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Special talent Lewis Crocker has the power to be a major hit: John Breen

By David Kelly

Published 28/10/2016

Glove affair: Lewis Crocker prepares at Breen’s Gym in Belfast for his professional debut at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on November 5
Glove affair: Lewis Crocker prepares at Breen’s Gym in Belfast for his professional debut at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on November 5

In a 30-year coaching career, John Breen has been fortunate to have worked with many of the best Irish fighters during that period and feels he may have an uncut diamond on his hands in the shape of Lewis Crocker.

Breen has enjoyed many highs in the sport but also more than his fair share of the deeply frustrating side of boxing. As one promoter has put it, 'if you want loyalty in boxing, then buy a dog'. If cynicism was cement, Breen would have enough to build himself another gym.

But the hard knocks along the way have not allowed the flame of hope in guiding a fighter along the journey to the summit to diminish entirely.

Now working with Belfast man Ruairi Dalton and Coalisland's Feargal McCrory, it is Crocker who is being mentioned within the boxing fraternity as a young man who could - given time and honing - be another champion in the making for 66-year-old Breen.

As an amateur, the 19-year-old Donegall Road lad was noted for his electrifying power, recording the fastest knockout in Irish amateur boxing in 2015 - taking care of England's Michael Jobson in just 12 seconds.

Breen has now tasted that punching prowess up close and personal in preparing Crocker for his professional debut on November 5 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on the supporting bill to Jamie Conlan's Commonwealth super-flyweight title defence - a show being staged by Crocker's new promoter Frank Warren.

"Of all the fighters that I've trained, Neil Sinclair was the hardest puncher. He had world class power and this kid Crocker has power on the same level as Sinclair - and he has it in both hands," said Breen, coach to numerous British, Commonwealth, European and World champions.

"I don't make that statement lightly but it's the truth. You hear about kids in the amateurs, and they can get hyped up, but I've been working with Lewis for a couple of months now and I believe he's something special. That's why I asked for him to go straight in for a six rounder rather than a four rounder on his debut.

"It's not just that he can bang but he has good boxing skills as well, he has a good boxing brain and now it's my job to bring out the best in him.

"I need to make sure that he gets good sparring and if that means we have to travel then that's what has to be done."

Breen is confident that, having teamed up with vastly experienced promoter Warren, he can give Crocker the patient route required to take him through to performing at the highest level.

"Frank Warren has been there and done it with so many fighters and I believe he can do the same with Lewis. Frank is going to see the potential of this kid and realise what he has on his hands," added Breen.

"Because Lewis is so young there's no big rush. I want him to learn his trade but of course if he's knocking guys over on a regular basis then people are going to get excited about him.

"I would like to think that after two years he'll be one of the most talked about prospects in British boxing.

"This business is tough and you'll always have people whispering in a fighter's ear. But Lewis knows he's in good hands and I'm really excited about how far he can go."

Belfast Telegraph

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