The 02 Arena will play host to an intriguing scrap on April 14 when Lewis Pettitt will seek to repel the featherweight challenge of the unbeaten Birmingham boy Raza Hamza. As Lewis points out in his first Fighter Diary, it is not quite a case of the old stager v the young whipper snapper that people are painting to be because he views the fight himself as a launch pad for phase two of his own career…
FIGHTER DIARY BY LEWIS PETTITT
MY APRIL 14 fight with the unbeaten Raza Hamza seems to have been in the pipeline for some time now. I thought we were going to fight in December and there was talk about it even before then.
So it has been rumoured and pushed about for about six months now, I would say. I strongly suspected it would happen but, when shows got moved around, I did wonder if we would go our separate ways, but it is on now on a massive stage at the 02 Arena, so we will see what happens.
A lot of people, because they haven’t seen me box for a little while, probably believe that I’ve gone, I’m finished or I’m old, but I am 27-years-old and haven’t even had a hard fight yet, really.
The two I lost were hard because I made them hard by not doing my job correctly. They weren’t exactly hard fights anyway and I was winning both of them until I came unstuck.
So I am not old at all in any sense and the only thing that has changed about me is I have grown up a bit and I am a lot more dedicated.
I now stay a lot lighter throughout the year rather than going up three stone!
It is funny that people tend to think I am 30-odd and, actually, I have got to renew my licence and it will be my ninth one. So I have been a pro for a long time and I have had three fights every year.
It is not like I have been massively busy or been in really tough fights. The two hard rounds I’ve had were in the ones I lost and they were the last rounds in both fights.
The others weren’t particularly taxing as I haven’t fought in those sort of fights, even though I’ve wanted to. I’ve fought people with winning records but they haven’t always been the most dangerous of opponents.
Having said that, Raza has fought nowhere the level I have and he is going to be in for a big shock when someone is whacking him back.
I watched him up in Leicester and he was getting caught a bit. He dropped a kid and didn’t manage to stop him, then he got hit with shots by someone who didn’t even come to win.
So when someone who wants to win is whacking him with big shots he is going to be in for a rude awakening.
He might think he is up against a shot fighter who is over the hill and I hope he does.
My career suffered a big setback when I lost in my Commonwealth title fight against Bobby Jenkinson in 2015 and it hasn’t really recovered from it up to now.
I think it will when I beat Raza because I will go on and get more wins then fight for a belt before the year is out.
I will hopefully announce myself back to people that I am actually a name in the featherweight division.
I didn’t make it easy for myself before this year because I was working full-time as a surveyor and I also run two businesses. I had all that going on before the Jenkinson fight and it was probably too much.
Boxing was only getting possibly 60 per cent of my attention, although I was training 100 per cent while I was there, but it was only for a little part of the day.
I was at work all day until 5 o’clock, then doing my calls and stuff in the car on the way to training, before giving boxing my time from 6-8 or 6-9 in the evening and that was it, before doing the same the next day.
I have given up my day job because the fire is still burning inside me and I don’t want to leave boxing without winning a British title.
It would be a travesty if I don’t win one because there are so many people I’ve been away with, boxed with, people that I know and people that I am better than that have gone and won one.
I definitely believe I need to win a British title or a meaningful title.
I was prepared to divide my time before because I am quite driven and business minded and I needed to work on my interests and get them going so they were working for me.
Now they are it doesn’t take up a lot of my time. I am in a position now where I have given up work and can focus on boxing.
I have done it in reverse because most young kids give up boxing after giving it their all before getting beat and going back to work. I went to work, got some money in and built everything around me to make me comfortable enough to give up work, train and enjoy my boxing.
It cost me two losses doing it though – that is the problem!
I am a bit older and wiser now and I’m able to offer a perspective on the sport. I can offer advice to people like my brother Jake, who is starting out as a pro. I do wonder what would have happened if I had done it like him and lived at home and focused everything on boxing full-time.
It is a short career though and so many people who do win a British title aren’t rich and do have to start another life after boxing.
I will come out with some money behind me because I earned it before I even got to British level.
The thing is, now I want the belt and that is what drives me now.
This fight against an ambitious young opponent is perfect for me because I cannot lose. If I do I won’t be boxing anymore. Simple as that, if I lose – not that it has entered my thinking – I won’t be boxing again because I won’t deserve to.
This will be the right win for me so I can move on to bigger and better things.