Wise guy Checa has Wilton dreaming
Bernardo Checa has enjoyed success at every level in boxing but this Saturday night would be one of the most special should Luke Wilton bring home the British and Commonwealth flyweight belts.
Checa took over as head coach to Wilton two years ago at the behest of the east Belfast man's dad Alan who had brought him to a point where he felt it would take the Panamanian guru to turn his son into a champion.
Having been at the heart of the success of the Barney Eastwood stable in the 1990's and the recent revival of Brian Magee, now Checa has honed Wilton for his clash with British and Commonwealth champion Kevin Satchell at Liverpool's Echo Arena, lavishing him with high praise.
"Luke has the desire and dedication to be champion. I think he is more dedicated than any other fighter I have ever had," said Checa, who has trained numerous World, European and British champions.
"All those fighters that I have trained in the past, they were very good fighters, some very, very good and they were dedicated but not as dedicated as Luke. He's always giving me a 100 per cent, he's always focused and he is always doing exactly what I tell him to do.
"He listens very well, he just really wants it, he has the hunger and that is why I have no doubt that we are coming back with the title because he has the whole package now – this guy Satchell is going to have to be too good to beat us."
Two defeats and a draw in first seven fights left many feeling that Wilton would not be able to make move up to championship class. He just looked a little too weak at the weight and lacking power.
Since then the 24-year-old has matured and rattled up nine straight wins, including six stoppages and Checa is adamant that his golden opportunity has come at the right time.
"Since I started working with him, he has improved 100 per cent, in all aspects he has improved. He picks things up very quickly," added Checa.
"He likes the Ricky Hatton style, he likes to get inside and throw body shots. I was a body puncher myself when I used to box and he does it very well... he looks for the angles now, he's a much better body puncher.
"Luke is also a smarter fighter because he knows when to do this or that and now he knows how to pace himself a lot better and he's now in the best shape of his life, he's down on the weight and he is so strong now at 8st.
"If Luke wins then it would be very special for me."
Victory for Wilton could pave the way for a showdown with fellow Belfast man Jamie Conlan, who currently has his sights on the British and Commonwealth super-flyweight titles.
That is a fight Checa would be keen to see, at a time when boxing in Northern Ireland is buzzing again with the rise of Carl Frampton.
Checa added: "I was very pleased to see how well Frampton is doing because boxing needed it.
"Frampton fought very well against Kiko, Barry McGuigan is doing a very good job along with Matchroom.
"It's too early for him to fight Rigondeaux or Donaire but he could win a world title. He fought well under pressure and he took some good shots and he was never intimidated by Kiko and it was a great shot to finish it.
"If Conlan fought Luke that would be another cracking fight as you would say here.
"But I don't know if Conlan can make eight stone, I don't how hard it would be for him to get down from super-flyweight but it would be a great fight because Conlan is very good.
"We have to focus on Saturday night and Luke is ready to do whatever he has to do to be champion."