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Sam Eggington missed the chance to fight alongside Anthony Joshua at Wembley – but his KOs of Paulie Malignaggi and Frankie Gavin are straight from a ‘Rocky’ script


After an astonishing 15 unanswered punches rattled against Sam Eggington’s skull, Kevin Parker stepped in to ensure Hassan Mwakinyo secured the biggest upset of 2018.

Having taken the fight against Eggington on a week’s notice, Mwakinyo brutally stopped the favourite in the second round in front of his home crowd in Birmingham.

In that moment, a potential world title eliminator on Anthony Joshua’s undercard just a fortnight later disappeared and it seemed as though the magic had finally run out for ‘Savage’ Sam.

Getty Images – Getty

Eggington returns to action in Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp this weekend

His journey in professional boxing began in perhaps the least glamorous of circumstances.

Eggington was just 18 years of age when he was sacked from his job in construction and learned he was to become a father.

The Smethwick-born lad knew he needed some quick cash and, having competed 31 times as an amateur, felt he could make some money as a professional journeyman to support his young family.

“I was a forklift driver and the only reason I turned professional was I got made redundant and I had a son,” Eggington told Boxing Monthly back in 2015. “If I didn’t have a son, I probably wouldn’t have boxed because I would just have tried to find another job in the meantime.

Victory over Joseph Lamptey helped set the Smethwick-born fighter on his way

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Victory over Joseph Lamptey helped set the Smethwick-born fighter on his way

“It’s a mad story. People don’t believe me when I tell them, but for me to get in to boxing was – literally – a fluke. People think I’m trying to tell them a Rocky story, but it’s the truth.

“I went to Jon’s [Pegg] gym and said: ‘Any chance of putting me on the road as a journeyman so I can earn a bit of money?’ Jon said: ‘Get in the ring, do some sparring.’ I sparred with Cello Renda, Max Maxwell and Terry Carruthers.

“Then we went away for the first fight and fought a kid who was 4-0 [Leon Findlay who was actually 2-0-1 at the time] and I beat him so the journeyman thing went t***-up straight away.”

He then ventured into the Prizefighter competition on two separate occasions and, after a narrow loss to Johnny Coyle, was ready to walk away from the sport for good.

Egginton’s come-forward style made him a fan favourite

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Egginton’s come-forward style made him a fan favourite

Fighting for regional titles was not going to cut it for much longer, but one final fight under the Matchroom banner against former sparring partner Denton Vassell presented him with one final chance to make something of himself.

The stoppage he obtained in the eighth round captured the attention of Barry Hearn, who convinced son Eddie to sign the 21-year-old.

After clinching the British and Commonwealth titles by the age of 21, it seemed as though the Brummie banger could retire as a happy man having completed more than he ever dreamed. But the journey was just beginning.

Having defended his belts, the step to world level beckoned when a bout was sanctioned against fellow Midlands fighter Frankie Gavin.

Eggington took everything Frankie Gavin offered and stopped him

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Eggington took everything Frankie Gavin offered and stopped him

The Small Heath slugger was 31 by the time the fight, dubbed ‘Bragging Rights’, came about at the Birmingham Barclaycard Arena in 2016.

A former amateur world champion, Gavin admitted the loser would find it hard to come back and it proved so. He was dropped twice before the contest was waved off in the eighth as he succumbed to a barrage of punches from Eggington.

With the WBC International welterweight title now firmly wrapped around his waist, the 23-year-old looked destined to face big names and got his wish in the form Paulie Malignaggi.

Malignaggi – who had fought the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Juan Diaz, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and Adrien Broner in his 17-year-career – was the best fighter Eggington had ever faced.

Eggington lands a cracking right on Malignaggi’s chin

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Eggington lands a cracking right on Malignaggi’s chin

On the David Haye vs Tony Bellew undercard at the O2 Arena in London, Eggington once again tore up the script and etched a new chapter into his Hollywood life story when he crippled the former two-weight world champion with another vicious left.

His almost pathological stalking of ‘The Magic Man’ meant the body shot which dropped the boxer-turned-pundit seemed inevitable and that Eggington was to not be denied on that night.

Having clinched the European title in his next fight, it seemed as though the glamorous names of the 147lbs division like Manny Pacquiao or Keith Thurman were just one punch away. And yet, like every Hollywood story, there was vicious sting.

A split decision defeat to Mohamed Mimoune in Manchester sparked a move up to super-welterweight to inject some much needed confidence after he relinquished his European title.

World class fighters at welterweight surely beckoned around the corner

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World class fighters at welterweight surely beckoned around the corner

Yet with a potential world title eliminator against Brandon Rios lined up for the AJ vs Alexander Povetkin undercard at Wembley Stadium, Eggington fell desperately short.

His crushing defeat to Mwakinyo, a fighter who’d never once boxed outside of Africa, had many speculating if the magic had dissipated for good.

Eggington was fed to former world champion Liam Smith on his Matchroom Boxing debut in Liverpool in March 2019. Having faced the likes of Canelo, there was no shame in losing to Smith.

Yet for Eggington, it felt as though he had reached a crossroads. Victories over journeymen such as Lewis van Poetsch at the Oldham Leisure Centre will do little to suggest he can reach the heady heights he once had.

Defeat against the classy Liam Smith would have done little to improve Eggington’s confidence

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Defeat against the classy Liam Smith would have done little to improve Eggington’s confidence

It feels as though Eggington will enter last chance saloon on Saturday night against Ted Cheeseman when they meet for the IBF international super-welterweight trinket.

Like Eggington, Cheeseman is in something of a rut after losing a European title challenge to Sergio Garcia and then losing his British belt to Scott Fitzgerald last year.

Whatever happens in Eddie Hearn’s back garden; Sam ‘The Savage’ Eggington has taken British fans on an incredible journey which deserves a fairytale ending.

Eddie Hearn talks Fight Camp



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