Fighting talk from Sheffield’s man from the Manor

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Liam Cameron is not just a son of the fighting city of Sheffield.

He is also to the Manor born - or Manor Park, to be precise.

Cameron takes pride in his background on the big city estate.

And if he wins the Commonwealth title at super middleweight - 10,500 miles away in Australia on November 25 - he will be thrilled to show off his belt to the

community that he’s always lived amongst.

And the £12,000 purse will come in pretty useful, too.

Liam Cameron. Picture: Andrew Roe

Liam Cameron. Picture: Andrew Roe

Winning such a prestige belt Down Under - after a 23-fight pro career blighted by four defeats - would set Cameron on the road to the world ranking he craves.

And it would be a joyful moment for his partner Tanya and their five year old daughter India, who fill him with the confidence he will need to take on unbeaten Aussie Zac Dunn at The Melbourne Pavilion, Victoria.

Here, we look at the 26-year-old’s life, ups and downs in the ring and his inner-most thoughts about this ultimate boxing Bushtucker Trial.

BACKGROUND

Liam Cameron with Tanya O'Brien. Picture: Andrew Roe

Liam Cameron with Tanya O'Brien. Picture: Andrew Roe

Jessops-born Liam was brought up in his parents’ house in Harborough Avenue, a stone’s throw away from where he lives now.

“My parents have lived there 27 years” he said. “I went to St Oswalds J&I and Myrtle Springs School.

“My brother Lee, now 35, did a bit of boxing, but he didn’t stay with it and lives in Taunton now, fixing computers.

“At first I didn’t fancy boxing but my cousins, (Nicki and Luke Smedley) boxed and trained at Hyde Park.

Flashback: Liam Cameron, when he won the British Champion at 69kg.

Flashback: Liam Cameron, when he won the British Champion at 69kg.

“I started going when I was about nine, my mum took me and I remember and Jerome Wilson (city welterweight) opened the door!

“I never thought for a moment I was going to be a boxer.

“But I found it easy, even against kids like Callum Smith (current WBC Silver super middleweight champion.)

“There were times in the junior ABAs I wasn’t serious enough and I recall a big rollocking from Chris Smedley (uncle) and my Dad.

“Yet I found I was beating up people like Scott Cardle (British lightweight champ.)

“I always enjoyed sparring with professionals. I sparred Craig Watson when he was training for his Commonwealth title fight John O’Donnell - I went 12 rounds with him before turning pro. He was trying to take my head off, but I was comfortable as I’d learned to look after myself.”

Liam Cameron. From Manor to Melbourne

Liam Cameron. From Manor to Melbourne

It was around this time that Liam tried to expand his profile by becoming an internet pest.

“I started trolling people, telling people like Anthony Crolla and Frankie Gavin I’d KO them!”

ABA CHAMPION

Following in the footsteps of Joe Calzaghe and Anthony Ogogo, Liam won the ABA Welterweight Championship, in 2009.

“I’d had hard fights against Tommy Langford, Scott Cardell and Dudley O’Shaughnessy. I beat them all over a week and was crowned ABA champion.

“It was the best feeling ever. I’d won live and on Satanta TV. In the journey home I was screaming out of the car window I was that happy. That night I couldn’t sleep, thinking: ‘I am going to get a great professional deal now!’

“It was all falling into place, the shots were coming naturally for me and I thought I was going to be the best.

“By turning pro I thought I would become world champion, there was no reason in my mind why I couldn’t be.”

TURNING PROFESSIONAL

Seven years ago this week, Liam had his first pro outing against veteran Matt Scriven, at Sheffield City Hall.

“I was a lot lighter than him but I hit him with some hard shots - I cut him to bits. People thought it would be a tough debut but it was easy. Scriven was impressed, and he’d been in with people like Billy Joe Saunders.

I had no fear, only excitement in that first fight...and I got paid £1,400 for something I loved. I remember collecting the money from an office on Handsworth roundabout!”

On his 10th bout, though, Liam lost to Erick Ochieng. “I felt the world was falling apart after that. I’d had seven pounds to shift overnight, I was in a hot bath for hours. I was battling my own body before fighting somebody else.

“I killed myself making the weight and was like a ghost on the night. I was drawn and had big black eyes.

“It was a fair result, there was nowt in me. I’d needed to be on form against one of Frank Maloney’s best but I lost the fight on the scales.”

Cameron chalked up four more wins before being outpointed in a Sheffield derby with Jez Wilson.

“It was a similar story before the Jez fight. I was a few pounds over when I weighed in and was jumping in and out of the sauna, running in black plastic bags; it sucked the life out of me. Again, I got the weight management wrong. And again it was a fair result.

“I broke my hand against Tobias Webb (Dec, 2014) but took the Luke Blackledge fight with five or six weeks notice. There was fluid on the knuckle; I must have been deluded, it was hurting when I was hitting the bag so I couldn’t train 100%.

After that loss I couldn’t get any fights, people kept pulling out. I called out people like Paul Smith and Rocky Fielding.

“There seemed no future.. and then Australia came along!”

AUSTRALIA.

Liam hates flying - so the journey alone will be a draining experience.

“I don’t like planes - I went on holiday to Spain on a bus! My fear of flying dates back to going to Tunisia a couple of years ago. It was a bad flight from

Birmingham, I was shaking. I was sat next to a woman who said she’d been in a plane crash which made it worse!

“The longest trip I’ve ever made was Miami when I carried the flag for Clinton Woods before he fought Tavoris Cloud.

“But I’ll be fine - at the end of the day there won’t be many people from Manor Park that have been to Melbourne to fight for their country!”

And what does Liam know about Down Under?

“I’ve never thought about going to Australia before, but there’s plenty over there, kangaroos, koalas, hot weather, sharks...and that 23 hour flight!”

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Liam Cameron v Tobias Webb 13/12/14

Liam Cameron v Tobias Webb 13/12/14