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Pickering set for showdown against Callaghan

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Esham Pickering claims winning back the British Super Bantamweight Title by defeating Marc Callaghan at the Norwich Showground on March 16 will be the first step back towards world title contention.

The Newark boxer (30-5) faces Barking’s Marc Callaghan (19-10-1) for the vacant belt as co-feature on 'The Showdowns At The Showground' event being shown live on Sky Sports.

British lightweight champion Jonathan Thaxton defends his recently won title against Scott Lawton on the same Hennessy Sports bill.

Pickering, 30, insists he can still become a world champion after injury and then points defeats to Michael Hunter and Bernard Dunne prevented him from getting his chance at global glory in the last two years.

Pickering bounced back from the Dunne defeat when he out-pointed Frenchman Frederic Gosset over six rounds at the Alexandra Palace in January and has just returned from Denmark where he was sparring with local hero Spend Abazi, who fights for the IBF featherweight title on Friday, February 23.

Pickering intends to put the disappointments of the last two years behind him as he concentrates on earning a second world title opportunity.

“I believe a real champion comes through the hard way and winning the British title is the first step back on the ladder for me to bigger and better things,” said Esham, who is trained by the Ingles in Sheffield.

“People say I’m the favourite for this fight, but I won’t be under-estimating Callaghan. He gave Hunter a couple of good fights and this is his opportunity, so I will have to be at my best.

“But all my strengths will tell on the night and prove that I’m the best Super Bantamweight in Britain and ready for bigger fights.

“I have got faith in myself that I’m going to be world champion one day and I think these setbacks will make me stronger. A lot of people have written me off because I have been beaten at European level, but it wasn’t out of my depth.”

Pickering captured the same title he will face Callaghan for when he stopped Scotsman Brian Carr in front of his home fans in 2003.

He later won the Commonwealth and European belts but his progression towards a world title was halted when he lost that highly controversial points decision to Hunter in October 2005.

In an excellent encounter, Pickering seemed on the verge of victory with Hunter on the canvas in rounds one and two. Whilst Hunter recovered and was busy throughout the fight, he didn’t look to have done nearly enough to claim a majority points verdict.

“I still feel I won that fight with Hunter and it’s held up my career,” said Esham, who has stopped 11 opponents.

Then came that defeat to Irishman Dunne in November, when he was beaten unanimously on points in an attempt to win back the European crown.

In May last year, he had to withdraw from an IBF featherweight title fight with unbeaten Brazilian boxer Valdemir Pereira after injuring a rib in training.

But now with promoter Mick Hennessy guiding his career, Pickering is confident he can get that second shot at a world title.

He said: “My promoter Mick Hennessy has got some great ideas for me and I need to take this first step back by beating Callaghan. I’m world rated so I’m not a million miles away from it.

“Mick has stuck by me and that gives me faith and assurance which makes me think the next three years are going to be the best of my career.”

Hennessy Sports Proudly Present
The Showdowns @ The Showground
Friday 16th March 2007
The Norfolk Showground

Tickets priced £25, £35, £50 and £100 available on 01603 868 606.

12x3 British Lightweight Championship
Jon Thaxton vs. Scott Lawton
(Norwich) (Stoke)

12x3 British Super Bantamweight Championship
Esham Pickering vs. Marc Callaghan
(Newark) (Barking)

6x3 Light Heavyweight
Spartacus vs. Ayittey Powers
(Ipswich) (Ghana)

6x3 Heavyweight
Sam Sexton vs. TBA
(Norwich) ()

6x3 Super Middleweight
Danny McIntosh vs. TBA
(Norwich) ()

4x3 Light Heavyweight
Paul Davis vs. Omid Burzo
(Norwich) (Tehran via Sheffield)

4x3 Light Welterweight
Leonard Lothian vs. TBA
(Northampton) ()

4x3 Lightweight
Lee Purdey vs. TBA
(Colchester) ()
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