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Battle Scars

Omar Sheika wishes he could go back and start his career over and become a world champion. He tells Elliot Worsell about his life in the sport and about the regrets that still haunt him

BECAUSE he was about as subtle as his fighting style, it didn’t take me long to realise an interview on a Monday afternoon wasn’t something Omar Sheika wanted to do. It was pretty clear, too, that it wasn’t the day that was the issue, nor the time of day. Instead, it was the interview itself.

Which explained why it was delayed, then delayed again, and why it was the fighter and not the interviewer who asked the first question: “What’s it for?” Rather than an attempt to glean the name of the publication, or any information regarding the type of interview, this was a softer way of saying: “What’s the point?” So first I made my case, then Sheika made his. I listened to him, appreciating the fact that seven years had elapsed since his last fight and 14 since his last world title shot, and soon figured my reason for wanting to do it and his reason for not wanting to do it were essentially one and the same.

Another of his reasons was this: in being interviewed he was sure to be reminded of something he loved but would quite like to forget; reminded of fights tinged with disappointment and regret; asked to pick away at wounds he believed had scabbed over and started to heal.

“Yeah, those were good fights.” That’s how Sheika described a couple of thrilling ‘Fight of the Year’ contenders against Scott Pemberton, two of the finest battles ever showcased on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Good fights.

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About Boxing News

REDEMPTION – All the action and reaction as Joshua reclaims his world heavyweight titles from Ruiz FRUSTRATION – Eubank Jnr has to settle for an unfulfilling victory over Korobov on his US debut ANTICIPATION – Crawford, Lopez and Conlan gear up for action at Madison Square Garden MUCH, MUCH MORE – Including Sheika, Navarrete, Ultimate Boxxer and The Golden Contract