Is now the time for the fighter Carl Frampton famously called “the best kid in the country” to become a man? A main man.
Lewis Crocker has been heralded as a pro prospect of note since he was still wearing vests, an underage amateur with the potential to be a pro star.
So, when he turned over with Frank Warren at the tender of age of 19 some suggested a blend of time, talent and star quality would afford him the chance to threaten Ireland’s youngest world champion record and to possibly join the likes of Steve Collins, Carl Frampton, Ryan Burnett and Katie Taylor on the multi-weight world list.
Granted those were lofty ambitions, especially considering the precarious nature of boxing and were predictions that came from the more ambitious fight fan. However, even the more realistic or pessimistic couldn’t deny ‘The Croc’ had the ingredients needed to become a player in a boxing mad city with more potential headline acts than a week-long music festival.
Here was a teen who can punch, always entertains, looks the part and could be 10-0 by the time he is 21 with the right backing.
From there domestic fights, some continental action and then the world! Simple really!
However, it’s proved a little bit of a slower burn for the now 24-year-old. Covid is a caveat that always has to be thrown in and Crocker has made serious strides with eye-catching wins over Denis Ilbay and Lewis Greene of late, picking up the WBO European ranking title along the way.
Yet there still doesn’t seem to be the level of hype surrounding him as some similarly positioned talents around Britain and Ireland.
Here is a fighter that would be fancied to be more than competitive by those in the know against the likes of Connor Benn, Josh Kelly and Luther Clay but a fighter who won’t get the chance to take on such names because there is an element of high-risk low reward about him.
That’s why the next few days are very important. This is the chance for ‘The Croc’ to increase his winning record but, perhaps more importantly, raise his profile.
Croker headlines for the first time in his career and he needs to own the main man element of this weekend. That means performing in the ring of course but also proving he is limelight-ready outside of it. It’s important he makes the most of his time in the spotlight to make TV companies, media and fans sit up and take note.
— Irish-Boxing.com (@Irishboxingcom) January 3, 2021
It’s also a chance to create a thirst for those bigger fights. Promoters are not going to risk their fighters against a vicious punching schooled talent unless there is a huge demand for them. Crocker would be smart to set about creating that demand – and if he doesn’t want to stray from his no-call-out policy his team should get the megaphone out and drop the kind of names that will make ring shake.
It has to be that while there is frustration at those wanting Crocker to be a crossover star he has continually made steps in that direction since turning over and it appears now those baby steps are going to increase to strides.
Conlan Boxing, who this week confirmed they will do regular shows, are keen to work with and push the MTK-managed fighter. They have put him on top of this week’s bill and presumably, he will begin to transition toward bigger fights, bigger nights and even bigger venues from here.