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Southpaw returns to USA in search of change in fortune

CRAIG McEWAN, the Edinburgh middleweight who built his reputation in America, has returned to the States in an attempt to resurrect his career after spending two largely fruitless years trying to persuade British promoters to take a chance on him.

Edinburgh boxer Craig McEwen takes on Dashon Johnson in New York
Edinburgh boxer Craig McEwen takes on Dashon Johnson in New York

McEwan decided to forsake the glamour of Hollywood and return to the capital, convinced that it was only a matter of time before he was contesting titles in his homeland.

He was entitled to feel optimistic, given that he forged an impressive record of 19 wins and only two losses in five years boxing out of legendary trainer Freddie Roach's Los Angeles gym. But the dream turned sour when McEwan discovered that his reputation had not preceded him.

He says: "I don't know whether it's simply a case that my face doesn't fit or whether promoters consider me a high risk for little reward, as I'm a southpaw and a lot of guys would be reluctant to take a chance against someone half decent. It wasn't as if I was asking for the earth. I was prepared to fight anyone provided I was given sufficient notice to prepare."

In the event, McEwan has fought only five times, most recently eight months ago when his bout with Alastair Warren at Kilmarnock's Grand Hall was declared a technical draw after his opponent suffered a first-round cut following an accidental clash of heads. But the 31-year-old is hoping that his luck is about to change when he steps back into the ring in New York this evening to face Dashon Johnson in a six-round contest at the BB King Blues Club & Grill.

The offer came out of the blue from his American promoter Lou DiBella via a tweet and McEwan did not hesitate in agreeing to the assignment, albeit he was told that he would have to finance the trip. "I'm pleased in the sense that I am getting the chance to fight again but disappointed that I have been forced to return to America to get work," said McEwan.

"DiBella is taking a chance on me, but he has remained loyal and actually promoted the two fights I had in Edinburgh, paying me and my opponents when there was nothing it in for him. I guess he must see something in me. However, he told me that, while he was prepared to cover my expenses once I got there, I would have pay my flight costs and that could have been a problem.

"But I am extremely fortunate to have a group of sponsors who didn't hesitate in putting the money up to cover my flights. Otherwise I would very likely be labouring on a building site with my boxing career over."

McEwan hopes a win over Johnson will open doors, but he doubts he'd be prepared to return to the US on a semi- permanent basis. "I'm giving myself another four or five years at most."

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