News April 2019

Callum Hancock talks overcoming whiplash and beating the bullies


By @John_Evans79

Luckily, I’ve never suffered the effects of whiplash. If you are one of the unfortunate people who have, it’s highly unlikely that your doctor recommended sparring a world ranked welterweight and the current British light heavyweight champion as part of your recovery. Eckington’s Callum Hancock, 4-0 (1 KO) is different. The 22 year old middleweight returns from a long lay off tomorrow night and is confident that some tough gym sessions have prepared him perfectly for his return to action.

“I had a bad car crash at the beginning of last year that kept me out for almost a year,” Hancock told Livefight. “I’ve overcome my injury now and I’m getting back to being fighting fit. It was severe whiplash and I went from being one of the fittest kids in Sheffield to being unable to tie my shoes. My mum had to put them on for me and my mum and dad had to help me up and down the stairs. I was in a bad way. Luckily I’m able to put the gloves back on.

“I tried twice before to go back to the gym but it was too soon. This third time, I’ve been alright. I’ve done everything my physio has told me to do and done everything by the book. I’ve been sparring Kell Brook and Bob Ajisafe. I’m holding my own and my necks in good shape.”

This Saturday, Hancock takes on Steve Spence for the second time in his short career and is hoping to be able to show more aspects of his game than he did during their first meeting in December 2012 when he outpointed the Lincolnshire tough nut.

“In the first fight with Spence I broke my hand. He’s got a head like a bison and it’s rock solid. I broke my right hand in the first round with literally the first punch I threw. For that I basically had one hand and I had to use my jab. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night and hopefully I’ll get to show a lot more.”

Bruce Lee once said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Hancock may be looking to impress on his return to the ring but the fireworks will only be unleashed once he has established the solid, accurate jab which has so far served him so well. There may be an assumption that fighters from the Ingle Gym are slippery, unorthodox customers but 6ft 3in tall Hancock is an upright, orthodox boxer who likes to dictate matters from range.

“Everybody goes off what they saw from Prince Naseem Hamed. Everybody thinks we box the same,” he says. “If you came down to our gym you’ll see that there isn’t one talent in there who boxes the same as anyone else. We’re all different and unique in our own ways. I’ve got a good jab and I utilise the jab. I stick to my boxing, I’ve got a good guard and I stand up straight and I really do snap it through from the hips.”

The nickname ‘Hitman’ maybe on of the best in boxing but it is also one of the most overused with fighters aiming to emulate heroes like Thomas Hearns and Ricky Hatton. Hancock was given his moniker following a tough childhood and uses it to fuel him every single day.

“My nickname isn’t through choice or my sport. I’ve had that nickname since I was a little lad and I used to get badly bullied. All the bullies, I used to say to them that I’d get them back and they used to mock me and say ‘We’re on the ‘Hitman Hancock’ list. As I got older, I started wiping them off that list. That’s a different story.

“The name ‘Hitman’ has stayed with me for as long as I can remember. Them people know who they are and the scars are deep. Bullying is no good at all and nobody likes a bully. In a way, I kind of thank them because the bullies made me who I am today.”

Hancock fights on a bill which also includes the English light heavyweight contest between Danny McIntosh and Travis Dickinson and the Central Area light heavyweight title clash between Matty Clarkson and Lee Duncan. Kid Galahad's European title fight against former Spanish champion Sergio Prado headlines the bill at Ponds Forge Arena, Sheffield, on Saturday March 22, live on Channel 5.

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