Essuman eyes British title, fresh date with Peynaud

English welterweight champion Ekow Essuman (13-0, 5 KOs) hopes to face Cedrick Peynaud (8-7-3, 4 KOs) in the next three weeks and has his sights set on the British title before the end of the year.

Essuman had been scheduled to face the Frenchman on this Saturday’s show headlined by Joe Joyce against Michael Wallisch, but Peynaud withdrew from the contest with an ankle injury during fight week.

Rather than being consumed by frustration, Essuman remains optimistic.

“It was disappointing,” he told Boxing Social. “I got to the hotel, did the Covid-19 testing, had my first session of ticking over and that. Then later on that evening, I get a knock on the door from the coach [Barrington Brown] saying the fight fell through. Gutted. I was starting to get that adrenaline rush of: ‘Yeah, I’m going to be fighting soon.’ At first, I thought my coach was playing a prank on me, I was thinking: ‘Really?’ It took a while to sink in. I got told later on that they are trying to reschedule it for maybe two or three weeks away. If that’s the case, I’ll keep ticking over and it gives me more time to sharpen my tools. I’ll be back and ready in no time.

“There’s only so much I can control. If we do get to fight in three weeks then I have no problem. I’ll make the weight and we’ll fight. It’s as simple as that. If it was two or three months away, I’d be frustrated and disappointed, but if it’s three weeks, then it’s just three weeks. More sparring, more training, sharpen the tools and get in there.”

The under-the-radar Essuman (right) is set to be unleashed on a wider audience this year.

Essuman is amongst British boxing’s best kept secrets. Despite the fact he has yet to fight live on TV, he has picked up solid wins against capable opponents, such as: Andy Keates, Tyrone Nurse and Curtis Felix Jr. 

The 31-year-old had hoped that a win over Peynaud, best known on these shores for dropping Conor Benn twice in their first contest which resulted in a draw, live on BT Sport would be the catalyst his career needed.

“I was really excited,” Essuman said. “This is the second show since boxing has been back so for [Queensberry Promotions] to want to put me on so early, I can only thank them. It gives me the opportunity to showcase my talent to a wider audience and I’m really keen to do that. I just need to produce the goods when the time comes.”

Essuman had believed that he had secured his breakout opportunity earlier this year when the British Boxing Board of Control sanctioned an eliminator between ‘The Engine’ and Liam Taylor.

Taylor is unbeaten in over five years, with his last defeat coming against Tyrone Nurse. He gave a good account of himself in his British title tilt against Chris Jenkins, dropping the champion in the second round, before a cut sustained by Jenkins was deemed to be too severe to continue, resulting in a technical draw.

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the fight was unable to be made, but Essuman hopes his chance will come before the end of the year.

“I would have enjoyed that fight,” he said. “I know he has a little bit of a similar style to Chris Jenkins. It would have been a good litmus test for me. Every fight is different, but I would just have enjoyed it.”

Ultimately, Essuman covets an opportunity to capture the British welterweight title from the Welshman. However, he believes that he will have to work himself into a mandatory position as Jenkins is reluctant to face him.

“I am targeting the British title,” he said. “But to be honest, that’ll be down to the Boxing Board and Chris Jenkins. He got offered a fight with me and I don’t think he took it. It’s a matter of making sure that when I get my eliminator that I do the job, then he won’t have a choice but to fight me.”