BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Ted Cheeseman has dished out a verbal battering to Paul Upton ahead of tomorrow night’s fight at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.
Bermondsey puncher Cheeseman, 22, makes the first defence of his WBA international super-welterweight title.
And he firmly believes that Upton, from Romford, has not earned his crack at a belt.
“His record is 15-0 but I look at it and there isn’t anyone he has faced who is at a good level but he has still got a title shot,” said Cheeseman, who moved to 13-0 with a clear points win over tough American Carson Jones in February to win the second strap of his career.
“Up until this point he has probably earned peanuts, so what is his goal? What is his ambition if he has not been earning lots of money because he is not fighting anyone. What he has been gaining from it, I don’t know.
“This is his first test. I’ve had test after test after test. For me, it is just another fight. I know I’ve got to turn up – but then I am going to steamroll through him.
“You get a lot of boxers who steal title shots. They fight nobody and get to 15-0 or 16-0. They don’t want to take a risk because maybe if they do that in their eighth fight then they only received £5,000 or £10,000, get beaten and they are done.
“They keep going until they know they are getting the maximum money they are going to get. If they win it pays off and if it doesn’t they still get a decent payday.
“I look at them as frauds in the sport, people known as boxers but who are actually not boxers.”
Cheeseman’s own CV backs up his claims to have rolled the dice since crossing over from a highly successful amateur career.
He has just signed a new three-fight deal with Matchroom Sport and won the English title in his ninth outing.
Cheeseman has faced 10 opponents with more victories than defeats on their fight ledgers – with Upton only boasting one.
“You can’t keep fighting nobodies,” said the South Londoner. “I know that as much as he took this fight he doesn’t really want it. This is his best option – business-wise and publicity-wise.
“He has said in a couple of interviews this is his biggest fight but it is also my biggest test.
“Alright mate, so my biggest test is some 15-0 fighter who has not boxed one person with a winning record and who, at the age of 29, has never won a title?
“In my seventh fight I boxed a guy [Lloyd Ellett] who had 20 wins and one loss. In my eighth fight I boxed a guy [Jack Sellars] who had five wins and one draw. Then there was Matthew Ryan – 14 wins and one loss.
“My last one was against Carson Jones, who had 40 wins. Since about seven bouts in then all of mine have been tough fights on paper. He has got to be deluded. I’m in this game to get as wealthy as I can and go as far as I can. So why not fight the best?
“There are levels of unbeaten records and hopefully I will show I’m levels above this sort of opponent. I don’t think he is a massive puncher.
“He’s a good boxer but I’ll be a bit too strong, a bit too explosive.
“I think I’ll get him out of there within six rounds. You never know with unbeaten fighters, they try their hardest to stay in there because they don’t want to lose that perfect record.
“But once I get on top then he won’t want to keep taking the punishment I am giving to him.”
The plan is for Cheeseman to potentially box for the Commonwealth title after the Upton fight and then a domestic dust-up with Birmingham’s ex-European champion Sam Eggington.
“I won’t shy away from any fights,” said the former Fisher amateur. “It is those kind of tests which make people say ‘Will Ted lose?’ It shows what you are all about.”
Cheeseman hardly took any time off after a gruelling but emphatic win over Jones, who employed rough tactics as well as failing to make the weight.
“He came in six pounds heavier and I think I’d have stopped him if he had made the limit for our weight class,” said Cheeseman.
“But his plan was to do his best just to win, he didn’t care about the title or anything like that. If he had been forced to make the weight he would have been a lot more fragile. He was half a stone over on the scales, so I was basically fighting a middleweight, and that’s before he had refuelled.
“After that I went out to LA for a training camp. It wasn’t like everything was full-on but I had four weeks ticking over and then a really hard camp for this fight.
“I went out to America with John Ryder, Conor Benn, Felix Cash and Joe Cordina.
“We did some sparring in Robert Garcia’s gym and also at Wild Card Boxing [gym].
“Garcia has got a lot of very good Mexican fighters. The Wild Card is more of a tourists’ gym but you still get a lot of good fighters in there.”
Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn recently struck a $1billion deal to stream shows in America.
And that is set to open up slots for his domestic-based boxers to build up a greater fanbase Stateside.
“By the end of this year or the start of next year I’ll more than likely box in America,” said Cheeseman. “As long as I keep winning then it will definitely happen.
“By the end of 2018 I want to be fringe European title level and hopefully have won the Commonwealth title. I’d like to grab the British belt if it becomes available again.
“If I blast out my next two opponents then you never know what fights are ahead.
“If I’m beating good opponents all the time then my ranking will be going higher and higher, you never know what is around the corner. If an opportunity comes then you have to take it.”