Adam Etches’ definition of the term ‘friendship’ is different to most people’s.
His view of its meaning is: ‘trying to knock lumps out of a pal.’
Etches is a sparring partner for fellow Sheffielder Kell Brook, as Brook limbers up for his July 13 clash American Carson Jones. And the ‘Birley bomber’ knows that he best way of helping his welterweight buddy is to give him as the most rigorous sparring work-outs as possible.
“I’m happy to help Kell prepare for Jones, it’s going to be a tough fight” said Etches. “When we get in the ring Kell knows and I know that we are trying to hurt each other. Even though we are friends, that is what we (boxers) do. Jones won’t go easy on him so the way I see it I have to try and hurt him like Jones will be trying.”
Etches, who campaigns at middleweight, summed up: “If you are a proper friend you’ll be prepared to have lumps knocked out of you and the other way round. Some good strong punches get landed as we get stuck in. Otherwise, you are not helping each other.”
The sparring will certainly benefit Etches, who boxes on July 19 at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Norton. It will be a six-rounder tick-over fight, which will benefit cancer charities. Etches expects to face a foreign opponent. He says: “That means he’ll be cheaper. I’ll earn less from a six rounder so more money can then go to Weston Park Hospital and Cavendish cancer appeal. I forfeit money, but it’s for a great cause.
“Any way, after sparring Kell, anybody should be easier!” said the 22-year-old with an unbeaten dozen fights behind him. “But I never underestimate any opponent. Everybody thought the first Brook v Jones fight would be easy for Kell, for instance, but it didn’t turn out that way. The last guy I fought I knew I was favourite, but it was against someone who had never been stopped (Andrei Abramenka) and he caught me with a body shot which was the hardest I’ve ever had to take. But I’d also knocked him down in the first round and he never recovered from that. “My opponents are getting harder. And one day I know I’ll be pushed to the limit.”