Prominent British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has backed Shayne Singleton to bounce back from his first ever professional loss.
The 25-year-old fell victim to the freakish power of Sam Eggington as the emerging Matchroom talent forced a fifth round stoppage at the Ice Arena in Hull to usurp his opponent as WBC International Silver welterweight champion.
“He’s got a great record and upped his profile tonight,” said Hearn. “He boxed very well, he just came up against a good fighter who is going to be something very special. He’ll come again and I’m sure he’ll go on to fight for more titles.
“He got beaten by a great fighter. Sam Eggington is going to go on to achieve huge things in the division but I thought Shayne boxed really well. He’ll learn a lot from tonight because he just got a little bit carried away.”
Hearn added: “I 100 percent think we’ll see him at this level again. He’s got great support and that means a lot for a fighter because you can always fight and get work. He can box on another one of our shows, another one of Steve Woods shows because he’s got that support and he’s a very talented fighter. I think Shayne can go on to win British titles for sure.”
The ‘Savage’, a 21-year-old Brummie, shares the same promotional stable as world champions Carl Froch and Kell Brook, world title contenders Paul Smith and James DeGale plus burgeoning prospects Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell MBE, and that’s the kind of company he seemingly deserves to keep.
I 100 percent think we’ll see him at this level againEddie Hearn
However, you have to wonder how the course of the contest would’ve been affected had Singleton stuck to a gameplan that had taken weeks of meticulous practice and planning to perfect.
The one-time English supremo is an excellent technician, a thinking fighter with exceptional movement. And it was that set of attributes that drew praise from the Sky Sports commentary team of Nick Halling and Jim Watt in the first round.
Eggington, who stalked his foe and cut off the ring similarly to Curtis Woodhouse two years ago, failed to make an impression in the opening round as he struggled to get in close proximity to Singleton.
Boxing on the move, with short sharp attacking bursts, the British Masters and International Masters champion stayed out of range and refused to get involved. With Eggington’s head stationary and hands down, Karl Ince’s student landed a number of stinging blows and returned to his corner with a confident smile.
But Singleton’s mentality changed in the second, as he rose to Eggington’s ‘running’ jibes from the pre-fight press conference. After jumping in, the Colne fighter was drawn in to a war centrally.
Cries of “come on” from the owner of the WBC fringe strap were immediately muted by a swinging right from Eggington that caught his opponent flush on the chin, forcing Singleton’s first career knock down that commanding an eight-count. From there the away fighter opted to scrap, playing in to the hands of Eggington, and that prompted an explicit exchange from Ince in the corner.
As the third stanza arrived, Jon Pegg’s tactical approach to the bout became more apparent. The British number four at 147lbs restricted the space, pushing Singleton to the ropes, and inviting him to step in and make the first move.
After dazing Singleton with a crushing left hook the challenger followed up with a huge right hand moments later that stunned the Colne fighter and forced him to cling on to remain upright.
Singleton, though, did exceptionally well to recover and turned the fourth round in his favour. Though Eggington seemed to absorb Singleton’s shots, which may have had something to do with the latter fracturing his knuckle in the opening round, the Stourbridge fighter grew frustrated, impatient and wasteful as the round wore on.
But Singleton, who was marked up around the right eye, failed to capitalise and that ultimately proved his downfall. Despite a methodical approach, Singleton appeared to take too long to get in and out and allowed Eggington to counter his counter punches.
Pegg’s pupil landed a solid combination of punches that set himself up for the grand finale. A feint with his left, that replicated Froch’s against George Groves, was followed up by a smashing right that resulted in Singleton grimacing on the canvas.
And, within 20 seconds, Eggington struck again with another clean, clinical and cutting right hand. This time, though Singleton sprung straight to his feet, there would be no recovery as Ince waved the towel.
“I went in there 100 per cent confident,” said Singleton. “I thought I’d go in there, do a job and make a good move in my career but in the first round I hit him with a right hand, left hook combination and did both hands in. That happened in the same flurry of punches. I gritted my teeth and carried on but his power I’ve never felt before. I have to give him credit because he’s got some serious power.
“You’ve got to give him credit because he’s beat me and he’s dropped me three times. I’ve never, ever been dropped in my life, in all my amateur fights, in my professional fights or in sparring. Fair play to Sam because he can whack.
“I like to fight and no matter how hard I try not to I just can’t help myself. That’s obviously my downfall. I thought I had that sussed in training - not to get involved in a war - but I got in there and it happened naturally.
“That’s just how I am. I’m going to have to think about my training and really concentrate on stopping getting involved like that, especially against someone who can punch like Sam.”
Singleton added: “I’ll definitely learn a lot but I’m just absolutely devastated that it got stopped. I obviously got knocked down three times and I felt it down to my toes but I got back up every time and my head was clear. I could’ve fought on. But Karl Ince pulled me out, he’s my coach, he wants the best for my health, and I have to respect his decision.
“I’ll try again and see where I can go from now. It’s not the end of the world - Sam Eggington is ranked fourth in Britain behind Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Frankie Gavin - so I’ve fought the best in the domestic scene.
“I’m sure there’s a lot more fights for me out there that I’m capable of winning. I’ll get on to some big title fights in the welterweight division. I want to catch my dream and win a British title.
“I hope Sam goes on and clears up in the division. We’ll see what happens in the next year or two for my career. Sam Eggington’s just put a stop to things for a while. These are the learning fights now. I’d never been put in a position like that so I’ll go back to the drawing board and learn from my mistakes.”