Lewis Pettitt feels his career is in the balance when he meets the unbeaten prospect, Raza Hamza, in an eight-round contest at The O2 on April 14th.
“I’m putting massive pressure on myself,” says Pettitt. “Though I’m successful outside of boxing, I love this sport. Raza is young enough to come again but if I don’t beat him, I can’t see a way back. I won’t box again and that would break my heart.”
While Pettitt has been relatively inactive of late, he is still much more experienced than Hamza and has kept himself busy in the gym.
“By the time of the fight, I’ll have been out for 10 months so it’ll be tough,” said Pettitt.
“I’ve been training in the gym constantly since I lost to Jenkinson but, without fights, my weight can balloon above 11 stone. When I get annoyed, I eat! I got to around 9 stone last December, only for the show to get pulled. To be fair, Raza hasn’t boxed for a while either.
Pettitt is also unfazed by the considerable size difference between the two men. At 5’10” Hamza is a big featherweight and is almost six inches taller than Pettitt.
“I’ve fought taller fellas my whole career and cut them down.
“The secret is good head movement and fast feet, in and out. Raza is threatening to come at me. I doubt he will, but I really hope he does. Look, I can’t run away. If I let a taller guy control from the outside, I’m in for a hard night.
“Raza has the size but fighting down south is a massive advantage for me. I’ve always been a huge ticket seller. My younger brother Jake is also on the bill and, between us, we sold roughly £18,000 worth of tickets for a show at Brentwood.
“After a couple of rounds, reality will dawn for Hamza that he’s facing his first opponent who’s actually coming to win and there are 400 people ringside baying for his blood. I just hope we get a good slot on the bill and there’s plenty of neutrals in the Arena to generate a real buzz. That will help me.
“I doubt Raza has even boxed on an Arena bill whereas I’ve had half a dozen 10 or 12 round title fights. My experience is a big plus.
“I’ve not seen much of Raza and I’ve no plans to watch him much before we fight. I prefer to respond to what happens when we’re in there.
“I was ringside when he fought at Leicester last April, but, no disrespect I wasn’t paying too much attention. That night, he came forward and walked down some import. I just remember he didn’t make the best use of his [physical] attributes. Still, fair play to him for stepping up.”
Despite Hamza’s considerable size advantage, Pettitt is confident he can inflict some damage on fight night.
“I think Raza will try to establish himself early on but, once he realises I hurt, he’ll jump onto the back foot and run,” says Pettitt.
“Shifting those last four pounds really drained me down at Super-Bantam. Almost all my stoppage wins have come up at 9st. I guarantee he’ll not come at me for eight rounds. He’ll find I hit far too hard.”