By Shaun Brown
In April, not only is Craig McEwan planning to return to winning ways but hopes to kick-start his career with a victory in front of his home fans in Edinburgh.
The 19-2 (10) middleweight has suffered two back to back defeats against fellow contenders Andy Lee and Peter Quillin on HBO shows that has saw the Scotsman’s name dim in the lights of the American network. Back on Scottish soil, McEwan told BoxingScene.com that he aims to get back in the mix amongst his fellow Brits in 2012.
“This fight in April opens the door to me fighting in Britain, to show people that I‘m back and that want to be in the thick of it. And if the [Darren] Barker vs. [Martin] Murray fight happens I’ll be watching it very closely. I’d love to fight the winner.”
Should McEwan’s 22nd fight be back in his native Scotland it would be under Alex Arthur’s AAA Promotions. The company’s inaugural show took place last August with a card that featured the likes of Arthur, Kenny Anderson and a thrilling main event featuring Gary McMillan and Kevin McIntyre. However, McEwan still needs a British boxing licence to fight in front of what will be a probable sell-out crowd at the Meadowbank Sports Centre.
“I’m not a registered fighter in the UK,” he explained.
“I’ve got to go through all the medicals, but I can fight here as a foreigner in my own country. I just thought to myself, ‘Let’s go through the whole process and do it properly’. That’s what we’re waiting on just now. I’ve got a doctors appointment in a week’s time. Then the British Boxing Board of Control have to assess me, watch me train and ask me all sorts of questions.”
The Scot then went on to say that originally he had been looking to face a marquee opponent in America.
“I was trying to get a fight with Jermain Taylor. I saw his last opponent had lost only two (fights) as well. So I thought he’s looking to get himself on the comeback trail and put himself in the shop window. I put it to [Ewan’s promoter] Golden Boy and they said they’d look into it but never followed it up.”
Should an appearance on the Edinburgh bill fall through McEwan did tell me that there is every chance he could appear on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson rematch in Atlantic City on April 28.
Many a British fight fan and follower of his career feel that he should turn his back on his American adventure and ply his trade back home in Britain.
In response to that argument, McEwan said: “I’ve had a lot of opportunities in America. I’m still promoted by an American company, but in Britain right now there’s all these big fights happening on television I just want to be part of that and use my experience against these guys. They’re all trying to build up a profile to take across the pond. I’ve done my apprenticeship there and I’m coming back to see where I fit in so I wanna test myself.”
Who will be in McEwan’s corner wherever his next test takes him? Friend and fellow professional fighter Gary Young took on the task of preparing McEwan for his fight against Quillin last time out in Mexico. However, with Young not yet having a licence to train in Britain, other options have to be explored.
Last year, due to travel arrangements and family reasons McEwan was unable to maintain working with Billy Nelson whose Fighting Scots gym in Glasgow contains WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns – who is one of Britain’s two current world champions.
So who does McEwan plan to work with? “I’m still looking at getting a trainer and I’m thinking of going down to England,” he said. “I’ve been speaking to Peter Manfredo Sr, he’s invited me over to his gym to train but I don’t know if he’ll come back with me or not.
Believe it or now he’s almost 60 and he’s had twin boys! So I don’t know if he can get away for a while to come to Edinburgh but I’m gonna go over there anyway.”
Whoever is in his corner they’ll both be looking to ensure that the confidence of picking up a few victories is number one on their agenda.
“I went right back in the deep end with Quillin after the Lee fight which I couldn’t turn down and it would’ve bumped me right back up,” said McEwan. “Preparation went well for the Quillin fight. I was sparring Alfredo Angulo who I’d sparred before and some other tough Mexican guys. Gary had a good gameplan but when that bell went in that fight, nothing happened.
“I’ve known Peter Quillin since the Wildcard days and I know how he works and I thought he knew me. I thought they were gonna come out and try and rush me and try to tire me early. He can punch with both hands but he never did that, he never took a step forward. My game plan was to try and counter his.
“Things never happened. My head wasn’t there, it was just a bad day and the stoppage as well was never a stoppage. He hit me with a great shot, but I still knew what was happening and if you see the fight that headlined that card, it was a fight that should’ve been stopped sooner, not mine.”
Craig McEwan’s career has stalled more often than not and frankly that has been through little fault of his own. Clearly all is not lost and a return to fighting in the UK can set him up with some fantastic domestic opportunities. But one does feel that his American allegiances have to be cut off to allow him to flourish in a buzzing middleweight division.