As Sam Eggington gears up for his first defence of his IBO light middleweight title on foreign soil, he’ll have a familiar face in his corner: legendary Australian boxing trainer Johnny Lewis.
The unlikely partnership came about thanks to Lewis’ former experience with a Brummie, with the Aussie previously working with Jimi Reynolds throughout the 1990s.
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And Lewis believes the folks set to pack the Newcastle Entertainment Centre to watch Eggington (32-7, 18KO)’s fight against Irish-born Australian Dennis Hogan (30-4, 7KO) are in for a real treat.
“The crowd will love him,” Lewis told foxsports.com.au.
“If you’re going to pay for it, you’re going to get your money’s worth. He’s (Eggington) one of those guys.”
Although Lewis and Eggington have had limited time together given the Brit landed in Australia last Monday, the two have worked on small tweaks to help him leave the country with the belt in tow.
It has Lewis, who has trained Aussie greats like Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu, believing Eggington has concocted the perfect game plan.
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“Dennis likes to hold and maul,” Lewis said.
“We’ve just got to work with that. When he comes to do that, we’ve got to make him pay for it. And this kid can certainly start bringing them up the middle.”
Admittedly, the alliance between Lewis and Eggington was not one the latter ever expected to happen.
In fact, the 28-year-old didn’t have much of a clue at first who Lewis was and his standing within the sport on Australian shores.
“I tell you the truth, I don’t know much about boxing in Australia at all,” Eggington said.
“My coaches did, and they said it’s a really good thing to have, and I thought it was brilliant.”
In the sessions they have done together, Eggington revealed Lewis has only offered “small” bits of advice and given tips on “little techniques” to conquer Hogan on Saturday night.
It’s all helped to aid Eggington feel at home in a place that’s a 24-hour flight away from Birmingham.
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“It’s nice to have his backing,” Eggington said.
“He’s a well-known face, a Hall of Famer I suppose. It’s nice to have that backing from someone in Australia, let alone someone of his stature.”
The partnership is all leading towards having Eggington’s hand raised on Saturday night.
But it will by no means be a walk in the park against Hogan, who is challenging for a world title for the fourth time in his career.
A defeat for Hogan is all but certain to draw the curtain on his career, so Eggington must be the one to retire the 37-year-old if he is to retain his belt.
However, ending Hogan’s career is the last thing on Eggington’s mind.
“Every fight’s the same to me,” Eggington said.
“Whether he’s 37 and it’s his last-ditch effort, or he’s 28 and it’s his first time for a title.
“I don’t overthink things. In boxing, we get in the ring and box it out over 12 rounds. It’s that simple. You overthink things and it starts to get complicated.
“It’s a simple sport. Two people get in, one person gets out the winner.”