Drawing inspiration from Disney’s 1994 blockbuster The Lion King is not something you would expect from a professional sportsman – not least a boxer. But that was the remedy former WBC International Silver cruiserweight champion Stephen Simmons used to overcome the disappointment of losing his first pro fight to opponent Jon-Lewis Dickinson in April.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist returns to the ring at Meadowbank tomorrow night determined to get his career back on track when he comes head to head with Czech boxer Jiri Svacina. Speaking ahead of MGM Scotland’s inaugural Capital show “New Era”, Simmons revealed he found comfort in a past favourite in an attempt to restore some self-belief.
“I am a positive man – I don’t look forward negatively,” Simmons, 31, told The Evening News.
“There’s a great quote from The Lion King from Rafiki [the baboon] who says ‘it doesn’t matter, it is in the past’ and it’s so true! It sounds silly but I loved that movie when I was a kid and I still do.
“I also spoke to a motivational guy a couple of weeks after my loss and it’s made a massive difference in how I channel my energy – it’s all positive now.
“I just want to get back fighting, get the win tomorrow and then have another one or two before the end of the year. We’re definitely looking for 2016 as the year for big title fights. With MGM behind me, I believe I can achieve that.”
Simmons forms just one part of the MGM jigsaw put together by promoter Sam Kynoch and his team, Edinburgh-based fighters Lewis Benson, Stephen Tiffney, Tommy Philbin and Brian Forsyth having also registered under the same banner.
But despite having benefited from a hugely successful amateur career and winning 11 of his 12 fights since turning pro four years ago, Simmons revealed he hasn’t contested a bout at Meadowbank since his early teens.
“It’s great that somebody has finally taken a chance on professional boxing in Edinburgh,” he said. “It’s been great training here all the time and getting ready for it, so it’s given me that extra bit of fire in the belly to be honest. I’m a bit of a homebird.
“I was just 13 when I had my last fight at Meadowbank. I’ve watched loads of the shows there since then but haven’t fought there in a long time. It will be great to finally get the chance to fight in my hometown again – especially as a pro. It’s great to be sharing the bill tomorrow night with some top guys who are coming through and also making their debuts.
“I’m not looking to go the distance that’s for sure. I’m going all out. I’ve got a completely different style now so it will be interesting to see if people notice. A lot of people coming off a loss can be really nervous going back into the ring but I’m burning inside to get back in there. The things I have been doing in the gym are going to show tomorrow night.”
BOUT ORDER (7pm start)
Tommy Philbin v Mitch Mitchell; Brian Forsyth v Luke Allon; Lee Redpath v Matt Seawright; Stephen Tiffney v Qasun Hussain; John Thain v Louis van Postch; David Brophy v Dan Blackwell; Lewis Benson v Kris Laight; Stephen Simmons v Jiri Svacina.