Despite his routine victory at Meadowbank in September, Edinburgh cruiserweight boxer Stephen Simmons has revealed he was left unable able to punch with his left hand for eight weeks.
Simmons topped the bill at MGM Scotland’s inaugural show in the Capital three months ago, Czech fighter Jiri Svacina proving a minor obstacle for the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist as he secured an easy points victory.
However, the 31-year-old’s preparations for Saturday’s bout with Imantas Davidaitis of Lithuania has been far from ideal due to a strained tendon he picked up in the eight-round win over Svacina.
Simmons, who is chasing the 13th victory of his professional career this weekend on MGM’s ‘Edinburgh Fight Night’ card, admitted the strain occurred in his finger due to the size of gloves he was provided with.
“After the last fight, I couldn’t punch with my left hand for eight weeks as I was encountering a lot of pain,” Simmons told the Evening News. “Funny enough it was my right hand that was giving me the problems before September’s fight but because the gloves were too small for my hands, I couldn’t make a fist with my left hand. I ended up hurting the tendon in my finger and when I took the gloves off, I was in absolute agony.
“I’ve had a problem with my right hand for a while now that I thought might have needed an operation but that seems to have settled down. So it’s been frustrating because I’ve been limited to what I can do. But hopefully there are better gloves this time round and I’ll have no problems but you’ve just got to get in there and get on with it. If I step out of the ring then I won’t be boxing again until January and that’s a four-month lay-off so that isn’t an option.”
Although Simmons has been restricted with his training schedule these last few weeks, he isn’t fazed by the 6ft 9in frame of Davidaitis who has just four wins to his name.
“It’s another kind of journeyman as we call it but it’s an opponent that’s going to keep me busy because I’ve been injured for so long,” he said. “Ross Henderson, who is boxing on Saturday, fought him for his debut in October and beat him 39-35. So I’ve been working on other things in the gym that have needed addressed so I’m ready to go again. I’m always on the front foot as I never take a step back.
“I’ve only been back punching these past four weeks so I’ve only managed about 18 rounds of sparring. I still feel ready though and I need to keep fighting and keep busy. I fought eight rounds in September but I’m just doing the six this time round which is enough considering I’ve been limited in what I’ve been able to do.”
Having relinquished his WBC International Silver cruiserweight title to Jon-Lewis Dickinson in April, the first loss of his pro-career, Simmons is plotting a move up the division in the coming months.
“I’m hopeful for a big title fight in March, possibly an international or Commonwealth title,” he explained. “I’ve spoken to Sam [Kynoch – MGM promoter] about it and he’s hopeful of getting that sorted. I don’t want to be messing about now so I need to keep pushing on. Big fights bring big purses and I’m in a business to make money and win titles so that’s what I need to do.”
• Tickets for Edinburgh Fight Night on December 5 are priced at £40, £60 and £100 and are available from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk/MGM) or via any of the boxers on the bill.