Tommy Fletcher’s reputation is beginning to proceed him.
Fletcher (6-0, 5 KO’s) has scored some truly frightening knockouts during his short but explosive career and fans have already learned not to take their eyes away from the ring for a second when the 6ft 7in tall cruiserweight walks to the ring.
The hope is that the 22-year-old will encounter some resistance when he takes on Alvaro Terrero at the Copperbox Arena on Saturday. The Spaniard has been in with heavyweight prospects like Sol Dacres, Johnny Fisher and Jeamie TKV but don’t expect ‘The Norfolk Nightmare’ to change his approach. If Terrero can’t take his power, Fletcher will happily add another early finish to his CV and move on to the next fight.
It is often said that fighters for score lots of early career knockouts are missing out on vital experience. That needs to be balanced against the confidence and aura that genuine fight ending power can generate. By the time he gets to title level, Fletcher might not have had the same kind of apprenticeship as his contemporaries but they will approach him in an entirely different way to all their previous opponents, fully aware that they can’t afford to make a single mistake.
“When you’ve got somebody who can’t punch and all their fights go the distance, they get great experience. When you get somebody who can punch, it is different,” Fletcher told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve done three four rounders and this is my fourth six rounder. I’ve probably only boxed a few rounds across those fights so it’s hard to get experience compared to somebody who will go the distance. It’s much harder. These opponents, you’ve got to try and tee them up and try and nurse them a bit.
“This guy I’m fighting, I’m not taking no chances with him though. None at all. He’s a big guy and I don’t know if he can whack hard or not but he’s gonna come and give it and he’ll be wearing 10oz gloves. You can fight a journeyman and get knocked out so you’ve gotta be on the ball and ready to roll at any given moment.”
When a fighter like Fletcher arrives on the scene, it is natural that fans want to see them tested and thrown into fifty-fifty fights as soon as possible but for a fighter with Fletcher’s heavy hands and low profile, getting any opponent into the ring can be hard enough.
If watching his exploits on television isn’t enough to persuade a puncher’s domestic rivals that it is in their best interests to put off fighting him until the reward justifies the risk, then the stories and rumours that circulate regarding his exploits in the gym will normally convince them.
Word also spreads quickly around the agents and managers who look after foreign opponents that their fighters will put themselves at serious risk of picking up a medical suspension by stepping into the ring with someone so dangerous. The compensation required for talking on the assignment therefore goes up dramatically and matchmakers will see plenty of texts and emails go unanswered whilst the handlers scout around for a safer job.
Fletcher has quickly grasped that he is going to be patient but understands the position he is in and knows that his time will eventually come.
“Even if you get a phone call asking if you wanna fight some guy who’s just 5-0 but they’re all knockouts, people ain’t silly. When you get to title level and you’re in with a big puncher you have to be switched on. You can’t switch off with any opponent.
“I’ve had so many opponents not take it and so many opponents pull out. There’s always levels in boxing though and if I fought for an English title then I’d get an opponent for it. If I fight a ten rounder then I’ll get a ten round level opponent. I’m fighting six round level opponents so the pool of people is much smaller until you get to a higher level.”