With just under two months to go before he defends his middleweight title at Cage Warriors 96 on September 1st in front of his home crowd at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Lee “The Butcher” Chadwick spoke to Fightbooth’s Kieran Cobley.
KC: First off Lee, this is your first fight since October, it’ll be almost a year since your last fight. So how are you feeling, how’s your knee and how’s your camp going?
LC: Yeah, it’s going well mate to be honest mate, I’m just eager to get back in, I’ve not stopped training since winning the title, so I haven’t had any time out. I was preparing to fight in February when I did my knee, I had a few weeks out, then I started rehab and got back in again.
KC: That’s fantastic to hear. Your first fight back is going to be a tough one, you’re up against Jonas Billstein, a fighter with a 19-5-1 record, he’s experienced and versatile, how do your prepare to face someone so versatile?
LC: Just training to extremes, he’s aggressive when he comes forward, so he’s going to fall into, the last fight I had with Victor Chang was very calculated and very in and out and he kept away from my power shots, but I think Jonas is going to walk into them, I think there’s a chance he’s going to be knocked out.
KC: So training with the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann and Chris Fishgold, they’ve all held Cage Warriors gold, like yourself, it’s like a culture of champions. Does that give you a significant advantage going into the fight?
LC: You know what, the advantage it gives me is 12 years hard graft. This Jonas Billstein hasn’t fought the level of fighters that I have. I’ve fought the level of fighters that he is, do you know what I mean? I’ve beat guys as good or better than him, so all I have to do is bring the A-game to the show on September 1st.
I’ve watched one of his fights in ACB, and he fought some Russian, and the guy almost knocked him out three times, the guy had no boxing, just big bombs. He looked like he was just a big guy and threw big hooks, but I’ve actually got boxing to back mine up, so I’ll be following through when I catch him.
KC: So the fight takes place on September 1st at the Echo Arena, in Liverpool. You obviously have a massive following there, you know I was there at Cage Warriors 90, when you weren’t fighting due to your knee, but you had fans queuing up to meet you at the meet and greet.
LC: That was brilliant.
KC: So walking into the arena, and having that fan response, how does that affect you mentally as you make your way to the cage?
LC: Yeah it’s going to be brilliant. Also, I’m going to be walking out with the belt on my shoulder, because last time I fought there, I was fighting for the belt, so I can’t wait to walk out and justify it.
KC: Also, you know Jonas is going to have to come into that atmosphere as well, a packed arena full of people cheering for you, the home town favourite, how big of an advantage is that going to be?
LC: Yeah, he’s going to act like it’s not going to bother him but of course it is, he’ll either use it to fuel him or he’ll fold, you don’t know mentally how he’s going to feel once he gets in there. But I don’t think he’s fought in that level of arena, and how it packs out in the Echo. I think he’s going to be a little bit shocked when he’s stood there waiting for me to come out and the arena is full of Scousers shouting, so I think its going to play a bit of a part.
KC: We’re only a month removed from UFC Liverpool, we saw you campaigning hard to get on that card on Twitter and your social media. Do you think if you hadn’t of had a knee injury and had fought in February that you would have been on that card?
LC: Yeah, definitely. Not only that, I think the UFC didn’t really pick, they brought a lot of fighters from all over the world to fight in the Echo, when they could have picked a load of people from down the road, but when my manager spoke to the UFC, they were interested in me, but the roster, they said was too full at the minute. So they can’t take any more fighters on yet, they said just to hang fire, so all I’m going to do now is make sure I get this win, and I’ll be in the UFC by the end of the year.
KC: Were you surprised at all when the UFC brought in Craig White, a welterweight, up on short notice to fight Neil Magny, instead of bumping it up to a middleweight fight, and bringing you in instead?
LC: Yeah, definitely, Craig White has done brilliant, he’s on a good win streak but not on the UFC level.
KC: So lastly, what are your predictions for this fight, how do you want this fight to go and is this the last stepping stone into the UFC for you?
LC: My prediction for this fight is that I’m going to start hard. I’m going to look at taking him out early and to make sure there is plenty of gas in the tank to keep going and win every round, but I do believe that I’ll take him out within the first two rounds.
image credit – Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors