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Maturing Crocker playing the long game as he eyes up Greene scalp

 

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Lewis Crocker

Lewis Crocker

Lewis Crocker

Swashbuckling Lewis Crocker says he is maturing at just the right time and that next month's 10-rounder will be just the start of another 10 years in professional boxing.

Crocker may have the power in his fists to help him make relatively quick strides but insists he is in for the long haul with ambitions to go all the way to the summit.

On August 25 in Yorkshire, the unbeaten Belfast prospect steps up in class to face Louis Greene for the vacant WBO European title, six months on from his points victory over John Thain in the Ulster Hall over eight rounds.

Crocker, a top amateur in the junior ranks, is naturally delighted to be part of the post-lockdown series of shows this summer and is relishing the chance to make a big impression against Greene, who has a solitary loss in 13 fights.

"I never had a senior career as an amateur, most lads are still in the amateurs at this point but now at 23 I am headlining a show in a fight that can grab me a lot of attention. A victory would really push me forward into the mix for British or Commonwealth title fights - I would be right in there," said Crocker.

"The fight is coming at a time when I feel that I'm already much more experienced, not just in boxing but life generally, and that just comes with age and I know there is a lot more to learn. This is my job and the way I see it, I've got another decade to achieve a lot of things in this sport.

"Of course I want to be a world champion and I believe I can achieve my goals, I'm taking the long view. With each camp I'm adapting and maturing and feeling more confident. Even my body shape and the strength I have now is so much different than when I started off.

"I know there are going to be some tough nights ahead but that's normal and many great fighters have had knockbacks and returned to do big things."

Crocker, who is trained by former Belfast professional Dee Walsh, says his major concern leading up to the clash with Greene is making sure he does not get hit by the coronavirus.

The exciting prospect expects Greene to provide a good test and with a world ranking on the line he doesn't want anything to get in the way of giving his career a significant boost.

"In the last weeks leading up to the fight I'm going to have to be so careful because the last thing I need is to test positive for the virus. I've seen it happen in other sports like UFC so I'm on my guard. My coach Dee and I have been very careful, sticking to the guidelines and wearing masks… it's too big a chance for me at this stage of my career to mess it up," added Crocker.

"Greene isn't a guy I'm going to have to go looking for, he'll come to fight and that will suit me a lot more than when I was fighting journeymen who just wanted to get the rounds in.

"The two of us know there will be a lot on the line so it's going to make for a very good fight.

"The fact it is a 10-rounder is good for me because I know that I get better as the rounds go on. You saw in my last fight that I did the eight rounds easy and I carry the power right to the end, so I don't have to rush things. I can bide my time."

The show, screened live on ESPN+, will also see the debut of fellow Belfast man James McGivern, while Naas man Gary Cully faces Welshman Kieran Gething.

Belfast Telegraph