West Ham star Declan Rice paid tribute to Ted Cheeseman after the boxer was visibly emotional in his post-fight interview at ‘Fight Camp’.
Cheeseman vs Sam Eggington headlined Matchroom’s return on Saturday night and the British duo delivered an instant classic in Brentford.
The judges could barely split the fighters after a thrilling war and Cheeseman was on the verge of tears after he edged a tight points victory, 116-113, 116-113 and 115-114.
It was Cheeseman’s first win in 21 months and the light-middleweight admitted he would have retired had the lost to Eggington.
‘You can’t imagine. I see fighters lose who don’t care,’ Cheeseman said.
‘I cared, I cried my eyes out, I stormed out of the ring. I’m a winner, I gave my heart to this sport and I felt that I deserved some luck last year but I never got it.
‘I lot of people doubted me, thought I would tire. When it got tough, I had a fight with Sam. It was morale – I haven’t won for nearly two years – and you need confidence.
‘I was confident going into that ring. There was no pressure with no crowd.
‘I made mistakes but I boxed really well. I could have thought: ‘It isn’t going my way’.
‘But I gave it my all. If I lost tonight I would have retired.
‘I could cry my eyes out with happiness.’
Rice was watching the drama unfold from his home and the midfielder, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea this summer, sent a message to Cheeseman after his post-fight comments.
He said: ‘Unbelievable interview by Ted Cheeseman, shows how much it means to him.’
Cheeseman won the IBF international belt with victory over Eggington and the clash has already been tipped as a serious contender for fight of the year.
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