There may only be a subtle change in wording but there is a massive difference between somebody who can punch and somebody who is a puncher.
Tommy Fletcher (6-0, 5 KO’s) definitely fits into the latter category.
The 22-year-old has scored some truly frightening knockouts during his short but explosive career and the search for a man who can give him some crucial learning rounds has been widened.
This weekend, Fletcher will box Alvaro Terrero. The Spaniard has become something of a trial horse for young heavyweights; the hope is that he will give the cruiserweight banger a decent workout. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
“I’m fighting a big man. A big man. Amateur or professional, this is the biggest guy I’ve fought. He’s 6ft 3in tall. He’s listed as a heavyweight on Boxrec and he’s fought a lot of big punchers and a lot of big heavyweights,” ‘The Norfolk Nightmare’ told 32Red.
“If I have to give him a boxing lesson then so be it”
“I’m gonna break him down with the jab and try to get to him. I’m coming for nothing less than a knockout but if I have to give him a boxing lesson then so be it. It’s gonna be a good night.”
Fletcher is a regular sparring partner of the great and good of the British cruiserweight and heavyweight scene and is now known and respected by his domestic rivals who realise that he is all but certain to be knocking on their door in the not too distant future. Being recognised as a knockout puncher carries a different type of cachet however. And Fletcher is revelling in the reputation he has earned.
“Oh, they can all have it,” he laughed. “I’m not messing, I’m as game as they come and ready to go at any time. This is professional boxing isn’t it? Nobody wants to see people shaking hands and smiling at each other. People wanna see people get knocked out and blood, sweat and tears. That’s what I’m about so I’m not gonna talk s**t and say this, that and the other. But people wanna see a proper fight don’t they? I’m up for it.”
Fletcher has quickly grasped the way professional boxing works but just in case he needed a reminder of the hard work, determination and constant improvement it will take for him to reach the top, IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia has given him a couple of stark insights recently.
Firstly Opetaia came to the UK and stopped Jordan Thompson inside three rounds. Three months later, London’s Ellis Zorro tried his luck against the Australian and was brutally taken out inside a round.
“Truthfully, Jai Opetaia is a different level”
Fletcher has yet to reach the level that Thompson and Zorro operate at, let alone Opetaia. Fletcher isn’t the type to start banging the table and saying that when the time is right, he’ll do a better job. To him, Opetaia is the standard bearer for the division.
“It’s a massive eye opener. I shared a lot of rounds with Jordan Thompson and I respect the guy a lot,” Fletcher said. “He helped me get ready for my last fight. I think – truthfully – that Jai Opetaia is a different level. Out of every single cruiserweight, I think he’s the one right now and I think nobody is really close to him. Take Opetaia out of the equation and everyone else is brick by brick, close knit with not much in between them. Jai Opetaia is just well above them all. You have to give credit where it’s due and I do think he’s a really good fighter.”
Fletcher may have a long way to go but is in a fortunate position. He is still only 22 years old, is backed by a big promoter and a part of a deep British cruiserweight division. He should have plenty of opponents to enable him to grow and improve against and has the attitude to want to test himself.
“In England Billam-Smith is the one at the moment”
Fletcher knows where he stands and as he looks up the mountain he can see attainable targets and titles, all of which he must reach and pass if he is to stand any chance of getting to the top of the mountain where Opetaia currently is. As he surveys the British cruiserweight scene, Fletcher has plenty of respect for the men who stand above him.
“I think they’re all good. Chev Clarke is a very good fighter. He’s not an idiot. He’s an Olympian and he’ll get stuck in. He could fight Chris Billam-Smith tomorrow and get stuck in and he could fight a four rounder and do the same. He’s a very good fighter.
“I think Okolie might be moving up to heavyweight or Bridgerweight so I think he’s out of the equation. I think in England Chris Billam-Smith is the one at the moment. I’d like to see him rematch Richard Riakporhe, I think that’ll be a really good fight. You have to say that domestically, they’re the top ones.”