By Shaun Brown
CRAIG McEwan 19-1 (10) is used to keeping good company with years spent at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Now, under the guidance of new trainer and long time friend Gary Young, over crowdedness may not be an issue at their current facilities. But as they wind down their training for the Nov 5 clash with, WildCard classmate, Petey Quillin they both needn’t look far to be star struck.
“We’re training at the Romana Gym in Mexico City with Nacho Beristain and Juan Manuel Marquez,” beamed Young when he talked to Boxing Scene yesterday about how the camp had been going.
“The Mexican people have been great over here with Craig and I. We’ve gotten to use the gym twice a day regardless of Marquez being in.”
“We're just keeping the tank topped up for Craig. He’s still running everyday and punching well. The weight’s perfect, he's eating right, training right and even people who saw him training in Edinburgh are saying they've never seen him like this, with this desire and intensity. I’m very excited for this fight as I believe it will be a career best performance.”
Those last three words are what many fans and observers used to describe the Scot’s last outing when he ran out of steam against ‘tipped for the top’ Andy Lee back in March of this year. Stamina is not a problem foreseen by Young even in the Mexican climate where so many Brits have crumbled in the past.
“Altitude won’t be a problem because Cancun is back down at sea level so we'll be fine,” Young explained.
“But I had Craig conditioned to altitude back in Edinburgh using masks etc and he was already in fantastic physical shape when we landed in Mexico. We trained in hotter conditions back home in the gym. We focused on a 15 round fight, in the heat! Craig is the fittest I’ve ever seen him and he's never been more driven.”
Having spent years learning, watching and sparring with people like Antonio Margarito and Bernard Hopkins, the high standard has continued as he and Alfredo Angulo have been helping each other out for their respective bouts on the same card.
“Team Angulo, especially, have been very welcoming. Craig and Alfredo are very good friends and both have been bringing out the best of each other during their sparring sessions. The morale in the gym between the two of them has been great. We’ve also been sparring a tall, young undefeated Mexican called Marcos Reyes,” Young said.
With his new trainer posting videos and updates of their time in Mexico on Facebook, time has not been lost on studying what the opponent brings to the table. Despite this being Young’s debut as a trainer on the big stage, confidence spilled over when talking about the threat Quillin poses.
“I’ve watched over 200 rounds of Quillin. I’ve never yet seen him in the ring with an opponent who’s even attempted to beat him. We counted one of his opponents throwing three punches in one whole round, he's manufactured hype! I believe Craig will knock him out or Quillin will sit down and not come out for the next round.”
No matter what happens on Nov 5, the 28-year-old hasn’t entirely thrown in the towel on his own career. A winner in 19 of his 21 professional bouts, Young confessed that the desire to fight on remains in him.
“I would still love to fight again!! If there is an opportunity for me to get on a show and fight then I will be there. My last fight was over a year ago and I still feel strongly that I have another few years in me. I also just need a bit of luck.”