Erick Ochieng ready to soar at welterweight, says he'll "beat up" Dale Evans
Erick Ochieng, (14-2, 4 KOs), is one of the most positive characters in British boxing. The 26-year-old may have had his dreams of capturing a Lonsdale belt temporarily ended by Liam Smith last September but the former English light middleweight champion insists that the lessons learnt from his second career defeat will make him a far more dangerous prospect in the future.
Despite dropping a unanimous verdict to Smith in their vacant British title fight, ‘The Eagle’ arguably put in the best performance of his career. He displayed skill and determination and matched Smith over the first half of the contest before being outworked as the bout wore on. Although he is proud of his performance, Ochieng is determined to be known as more than a brave loser.
“There were a lot of things to learn and a lot more positive stuff to take out of the fight than negative,” Ochieng told Livefight. “I learned a lot and went the distance and you can only be proud of that.
“I didn’t pace myself in the fight. Choosing when to work and when not to work. I think I worked too hard where I didn’t need to work hard and obviously credit to Liam Smith. He did what he needed to do and he picked his punches. That was my first twelve rounder and I didn’t pace myself that great.
“I can only get better and stronger from that. Sometimes a win can become a loss and a loss can become a win. It will only make me stronger, wiser and more determined to dig deep and obviously I’m going to show that in my next fight by beating up Dale Evans.
“There’s a lot of good you can draw from it. I take the positives out of it. My reputation went high and a lot of people got to see how slick I am and how good looking I am! That’s another story but I can only get better from that last fight.”
Ochieng has decided to drop down to welterweight and – as he said - his first opponent on the road to what he hopes will be a second British title fight will be dangerous Welshman Dale Evans, (7-1-1, 3 KOs). Perhaps understandably, plenty of fighters may have chosen to remain at a comfortable weight and sought a ‘gimmee’ fight following a high profile title defeat. Not Ochieng. He is intent on making waves at 147lbs and wants to make an immediate impact.
“He [Evans] is a tough opponent and that’s what we want. We’re going down to welterweight and making a statement by beating him up,” Ochieng says. “We’re gonna beat him up. He’s a good fighter but we’re gonna show how good we are.
“I let my management team choose who I’m gonna fight. They decide who I’m gonna fight and I just get ready and fight whoever they put in front of me. Straight from a good fight with Liam Smith where we didn’t get the decision, we’re coming down and are gonna fight whoever’s there. We’re gonna make our presence known and are looking for another title at welterweight.
“We ain’t wasting no time. Time waits for no man and we’re gonna use out time wisely.”
“They’re gonna see. They’ll find out on the night,” Ochieng says when asked what strengths he is bringing to welterweight. “Obviously I’m smarter. I’m more determined. I’m more slick. I’m perfecting my technique and skills. I have the best coach in the business in Brian Lawrence teaching me the craft and I’m a great student. I’m studying and working hard.”
Ochieng’s ambitions for 2014 stretch beyond the ring. Having left Kenya to join his family in London, the 11-year-old Ochieng found himself being drawn towards the wrong crowd. Boxing provided him with focus and a way to channel his energy and Ochieng is keen to provide any young Eaglet’s back home with the opportunity to follow in his steps.
“I wanna give young people the opportunities I was given when I was young. I want to create opportunities that young people may not have in Kenya,” he says. “In the future, I will open a boxing gym in Kenya. Boxing teaches different qualities like hard work, dedication, discipline and self-control. These are qualities you need to have to have a successful career in whatever walk of life.
“There are talents that young people can take from the sport of boxing. Whether or not they choose to take it professionally, they can be given the tools. I will open an “Erick ‘The Eagle’ gym in Kenya and give people the opportunity.”
Should 2013 progress the way Ochieng believes it will, his story will become the perfect case study of determination and discipline.
“I’m not done yet,” he says. “As a matter of fact, I’m just getting started. ‘The Eagle’ will fly high and is destined for greatness.”
One final quick note……..
During our last interview, Erick told us that he was working on a range of Erick ‘The Eagle’ merchandise. Although you didn’t get to open a pair of ‘Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng’ trademark sunglasses this Christmas, fear not.
“We are working on those,” he says. “I like quality. Actually, Erick ‘The Eagle’ scarves are gonna be out. We’ve got woollen hats that are gonna be out shortly. T-shirts will be on the website soon. Within this year, they’re gonna be out on the website. Look out for Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng merchandise on my website, www.ericktheeagle.com”
Follow Erick on Twitter - @ErickTheEagle
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