By Shaun Brown
Given his severe dislike for Wadi Camacho it may be hard to believe that Stephen Simmons 9-0 (4) is only interested in getting the victory on Friday night over his rival with the satisfaction of a knockout.
The two British cruiserweights will finally lock horns, butt heads and cause whatever other damage is necessary at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow live on Sky Sports for Simmons’ WBC International Silver Cruiserweight title. And the 29-year-old Scot told Boxing Scene that he just wants to get this fight out of the way before moving on to bigger and better things.
“Obviously he doesn’t deserve the shot but through being disrespectful, personal and being an absolute dick he’s getting the shot. But after this I’ll be looking at a British, Commonwealth or European title shot.”
On any other day this particular fight may have been looked upon as just another 200lb contest between two fellas looking to make a name for themselves, but this has a source of nastiness to it. Unsavoury exchanges have taken place online, as is modern day boxing beefs, and in person throughout their rivalry that appears to date back to their amateur days. Simmons told Camacho 12-2 (8) at the beginning of the year ‘I’ll send you home in a coma’ after a press conference to announce their fight, initially, for Mar 1 which was then cancelled after Simmons suffered a rib injury in sparring.
“I probably shouldn’t have said the word ‘coma’,” he admitted.
“But at the end of the day he shouldn’t have been saying what he was saying. He was coming out with comments like ‘After I beat you, me and my boys are gonna take your missus and have fun with her’. If he said that to the average Joe in the street he’d get chinned or stabbed or anything. I shouldn’t have said what I did but it came out, I apologised but he’s still not getting any respect from me whatsoever.”
Simmons treated the cancellation of their March contest as a blessing in disguise, allowing himself and his trainer Danny Vaughan to focus on the mental aspect of this fight as well as the physical.
“I probably wouldn’t have been mentally focused for it then but now I’ve had a lot to time to look at things. I’ve had time to think about it, spoke with the wife and I’m just in a good place. I’m so happy, I got married two weeks ago and couldn’t be in a better place. Danny and me know that I’ve just got to be cool, calm and collected and that’s the way I feel right now. I’m feeling ice cold.”
And with a pinch of salt or not, Simmons then went on to say: “The W is the main concern. As long as we get the W at the end of the day I don’t care how it comes. A knockout would be a positive but if it doesn’t come then it doesn’t come.”
Grudges aside, there is no respect from Simmons for what Camacho has to offer even as a fellow boxer. The Englishman will be rolling his dice in a hostile last chance saloon on Fri night after defeats to China Clark L RTD 7 and Tony Conquest L UD 10 in 2013.
“Both times he’s stepped up he got beat,” said Simmons. “He retired on his stool the first time (against Clarke) and then against Conquest he had him down once in the first and once in the second and couldn’t finish it. Conquest boxed really well after that. Camacho’s not been able to step up on both title occasions. A lot of people say you’ve got to respect his power but he’s not really knocked anyone out bar journeyman. Conquest got knocked down but he came back to win. Boxing’s all about levels and he’s levels below me.”
A tenth professional win for Simmons would almost certainly put him in the mix for a crack at Ovill McKenzie’s British and Commonwealth titles after ‘The Upsetter’ did just that when stopping Jon-Lewis Dickinson last month in Newcastle. The Edinburgh man believe he’s ready for McKenzie now and hopes to be headlining his own shows in the coming months. Scottish boxing is currently looking for a fighter to step up and be ready to take the baton from Ricky Burns, who headlines Friday’s show against Dejan Zlaticanin, once the former two-weight world champion calls it a day. ‘Scene asked Simmons if he is going to be that man.
“I’m very confident in doing so. I’ve got a good backing in Scotland, a lot of people get behind me. And in six to twelve months I could be topping my own bills in Scotland. I just need to do what I have to do, train hard and let momentum take me there.”
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