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How Jamie Speight ended up working with coach of his last opponent

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

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GOING into his English featherweight title fight without a coach proved the catalyst for Jamie Speight's change of trainer – who is now working with the father of the boxer who beat him that night.

Speight lost his English title clash on points to Josh Warrington at Leeds' Town Hall in March, in a clash which went the full 10 rounds.

Speight did so without then coach Gareth Hogg, who was unable to make the fight, meaning only manager Nigel Christian was in his corner.

Speight said his performance was enough to impress opposition trainer Sean O'Hagan – Josh Warrington's dad – who later offered to be in his corner in the future, should he need him.

It proved to be the start of an ongoing relationship between Speight and O'Hagan, who has now taken on the Devon man full-time.

Speight said: "At the end Josh's dad [Sean O'Hagan] said if I ever got stuck like that against he would come and help me out – wherever I was in the country.

"From then on I got talking to them, and he [Sean] said 'why don't you come and train with us'?

"I went into there and I was training with the likes of [English super featherweight champion] Gary Sykes and Femi Fehintola.

"Every week I was sparring with world champions – guys like [IBF International lightweight champion] Tommy Coyle, and [WBO Inter-Continental super flyweight champion] Paul Butler.

"So I was getting all the names and sparring with the boys every session."

Speight said that O'Hagan has overhauled his boxing style almost entirely, with a more compact defence and greater punching power.

"The improvement has been phenomenal – even the basics," said Speight.

"Sean really broke everything down and made it simple.

"My defence is so much tighter now and my hands are high all the time.

"Before I was using my agility – which I've still got – but now I'm turning and taking shots on my gloves."

Speight said his new trainer had also helped him to find digs in Leeds close to the gym, and added that he was enjoying the atmosphere in the camp.

"He [O'Hagan] has had a lot to do with Gary Sykes and [IBF bantamweight champion] Jamie McDonnell –so he's trained people at higher level, and is a fantastic bloke to get on with.

"It's a relaxed but serious atmosphere."

Speight said he took some time out after his defeat against Warrington in March – but the thought of quitting never entered his head.

"I just thought that I needed some time as things weren't working," said Speight.

"I was never going to quit. To stop boxing the doctors would have to tell me I have to give up.

"But I did believe that things weren't right and I needed to do some thinking about turning things around.

"I was always on away shows and hadn't settled on a coach, so I was unstable and needed that solid background.

"Every fighter needs someone they can trust in their corner and I didn't have that.

"I've matured massively since then – I've hit 25 and I have to think about putting bread on the table and contest at that level.

"I honestly believe I can be better than a domestic fighter."

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