Boxing: A family affair as Craig plots Quillin’s demise

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PERHAPS nothing proves Edinburgh middleweight Craig McEwan’s determination to win his crunch fight in Cancun tonight against Peter Quillin more than his decision to break one of boxing’s most sacred traditions – by having his family join him in his Mexican training camp ahead of the bout.

“It’s true that all the old-time stars used to keep close family out of their pre-fight training camps, but shutting yourself off from family is a tradition that’s dying out,” said the former Clovenstone club amateur star.

“Manny Pacquiao always has his family around him in training camp, and me having wife Sally and the kids around is a bonus as playing with my children during quiet times between training inspires me.”

McEwan added: “Similarly, sparring at altitude in Mexico City’s Romanza gym has been a key factor, just as sparring with Alfredo Angulo [who is on the same Cancun bill as McEwan] has been terrific.

“Angulo and I have had many tough, fast-paced rounds of sparring together.

“I also received a huge boost from Mexican coach Nacho Beristain who told my coach that after watching me against Angulo he thought that I was a very talented and gifted boxer.

“As for Peter Quillin, he is a big puncher and he’ll be a tough opponent, but I won 19 fights in a row and I am in great shape, so I rate my chances of victory highly.

“I can’t wait to show everyone that I’m a world-class fighter, and even though many people have told me this fight is a big risk, my answer to that is I’m a professional and every fight is a risk.

“I could have taken the soft option and fought a warm-up opponent, but I need to get back in the ring with a fantastic victory over an unbeaten opponent like Quillin.’’

McEwan’s coach and ring cornerman in Cancun, Gilmerton-based Gary Young, added: “I told Craig when we arrived that he was going to hate me because of the way I would drive him hard in training for this fight, but we prepared for altitude fighting and sparring back in Edinburgh using altitude masks and we had the gym artificially heated to Mexican levels.

“Craig responded fantastically to the tough artificial conditions and he’s doing likewise in our gym here in Cancun.

“I’ve watched Quillin box hundreds of rounds on DVD, and Craig and me have discussed several ring strategies aimed at him, so we are fully prepared for this fight.

“I am very excited because I think McEwan will pull off a career-best performance.”

These are sentiments endorsed by McEwan himself, who added: “Peter Quillin is just an obstacle standing between me and a future crack at a world title.

“I’d just like say thanks to all the fans back in Edinburgh and Scotland who have sent hundreds of emails saying how much they are supporting me. I’m really fired up for this fight.”

n  UNBEATEN pro Capital cruiserweight Steve Simmons will have his next fight against a selected opponent on November 26 at Motherwell’s Ravenscraig Sports Centre on the undercard of the Willie Limond versus Anthony Crolla title fight.