Sheffield boxing: You’ve got to hand it to Sam

Boxer Sam O'Maison trains at Ryan Rhodes' boxing gym. Picture: Andrew Roe

Boxer Sam O'Maison trains at Ryan Rhodes' boxing gym. Picture: Andrew Roe

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Sam O’maison’s future in his own hands - with a little bit of help from the specialist who wraps them.

The Sheffield super lightweight says he went through a spell where his hands were painfully damaged after every fight.

But after switching to Ryan Rhodes’ camp, things have improved radically. “I’d be out injured for two months after every fight, before” said O’maison.

“But Jamie Sheldon, the cut man, has his own way of wrapping my hands and it just works - it doesn’t look any difference to me, but I never get injured now and could go back into the gym the following day.

“I have had a few problems over the last few years and not been as active as I’d like to have been (he only fought twice in each year across 2014, 15 and 16) but I have spoken to Ryan and we want to be heading for a mandatory position for English or even British titles before the end of the year.”

Rhodes endorsed Sheldon’s contribution: “He has been all over the world learning his own technique for boxing and UFC.

“One of the problems is that Sam hits too hard! He is a freak of nature, he’s 10 stone but hits heavier than heavyweights at our gym.”

O’maison, like his pal and world champion Kell Brook, only wants fights that gets the juices flowing.

“I don’t want to fight people who are just coming for a pay day or are coming just to see how they go on - I want testing fights that excite me” said the South Yorkshireman who has just one blemish on a 14-fight record (six KOs.)

“I don’t care who I fight, Ryan sorts all that out, but I just want train hard and be ready for any opportunity.”

O’maison said he wasn’t envious of other Sheffield fighters who have had TV exposure recently - but says he’d like his own chance to shine in fights to come.

First up is a date at Bramall Lane, on February 24.

“I had been due to face Chris Truman (Birmingham W13 L6 D2) but apparently he has a shoulder problem, is thinking of retiring and wants to go out on a win.

“It is hard when you have been focusing on a match so close to happening. But I am only a few pounds away from the fight weight and am looking forward to it.”

In fact, his new opponent makes the Lane show even more interesting - it’s Westfield’s Lee Connelly, a tough and experienced professional who comes to fight.

Rhodes said: “Lee is a Sheffield lad who is on a roll at the minute and has also boxed some big names in his career. It will be a big Sheffield derby.

“We want Sam to be in contention for big fights this year - we want him to have four contests. This is going to be a huge year for him.”

Also on the Dennis Hobson bill is Sheffield heavyweight David Howe, who is due to face 36-year-old Czech southpaw Chris Truman.

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