On Saturday night, FCC host their seventeenth event. This time, from EventCity in Manchester where, in the professional portion, Sam Spencer (3-0) returns to action after much perseverance to take on Ionut Raducanu (1-1) in a bantamweight clash.
This will be Spencer’s first bout since his graphic broken jaw versus Bryan Creighton at FCC 16 in March. In the time out spent recovering, Sam intended on not playing the sympathy cards. Instead, he took this time to focus on studying more of the fight game and how his own personal style can learn whilst on the sidelines.
Once the Manchester Predators prospect was given the proverbial all-clear to get back on the mats, no time was wasted.
“It’s been much easier than I anticipated,” Sam revealed. “In the days following the Creighton fight I was struggling to see past the six-month no-fight order that the doctors placed on me, but once I got my head around it I was able to use the downtime in a positive way. I wasn’t in any real pain whilst my jaw was healing, I couldn’t eat solid foods for a couple of weeks and as a passionate cook and foodie that was probably the hardest part.
“I concentrated on my fitness and strength and conditioning as I couldn’t take any contact. Also, I assumed more of a coaching role at the gym for a couple of months. I enjoy helping out those that I can and one day would like to open my own gym, so it was good to shadow my coach Gav Boardman a little and pick his brain in regards to coaching philosophy, rather than only concentrating on my own development as a fighter.
“As soon as I could talk contact again, I was straight back into training. It definitely hasn’t hampered my own progression in any way other than not having any fights for the past six months. Camp has been tough for personal reasons and due to the changes of opponents, but other than that, my training has been perfect. I have never been sharper, stronger, fitter or more well-rounded.
“In regards to training, I have put a little more emphasis on striking defence for obvious reasons,” Spencer continued. I’ve always fought quite aggressively, but I feel a more patient, calculated approach works better in the long run if you plan on sticking around this sport for many years.”
When returning from an injury as critical as a fractured or hand, it can instil tremors into a competitor’s wiring. A fighter may become weary of throwing a shot with so much tenacity in case the same incident reoccurs. For one Sam Spencer, no qualms were undertaken.
“I had no worries about sparring once I was back,” the bantamweight began. “The doctors said I would be fine to fight in six months, so that was the target I set in my head. Every day between then was just countdown till I was healed and ready to go again. I’m not squeamish and can deal with pain and discomfort quite well. Plus I have very sensible training partners and we were able to spar technically until I was ready to take any real contact.”
Change of opponents aren’t a stranger in the career of the self-professed ‘Smooth’ battler. Initially, his first opposition was to be fellow rising star Brent Crawley. Such is MMA, rearrangements were on the cards and eventually, Raducanu was the name that stuck.
In light of these situations, Spencer tries to see the good in the pullouts as much as he can. The irritation is real, but Sam feels all he can do is make good of himself in front of whoever stands adjacent of him come fight night.
“At the time I was frustrated,” Sam confessed. “However, when opponents pull out I always tend to think of it as a back-handed compliment. I believe there was some contract issues between FCC and Mr Crawley and I see that he is fighting the last person I beat in Bryan Creighton next month, as well as former BAMMA world champion Ed Arthur. Not bad when you’re getting turned down for world champions, I guess, but I don’t know the details of what the issue is between FCC and Brent. All I know is that he dodged a bullet.
“In all honesty I’m just happy that I still have an opponent to fight. The original replacement for Brent pulled out a week after he confirmed the fight and there was a time where I was thinking I wasn’t going to find an opponent at all. It’s hard to make a living in the sport as it is, never mind coming off a serious injury and struggling to find opponents. I’m just happy to fight, and the way I feel at the minute, you could put any bantamweight in there with me and they’re getting taken out.”
A victory on Saturday and the Rossendale native could well see himself even closer to challenging for FCC bantamweight gold. However, now he’s back in activity, Spencer plans on remaining as busy as possible. Wherever, whenever, the former is down to go at it. Whether it be a Crawley rematch or settling the score with long-time foe Javonne Morrison, the undefeated professional eyes a future that includes his name on many lips.
“I know FCC aren’t having another show until 2017 and coming off of this layoff I need to stay active,” Sam opined. “I know Tanko have a show in December and I wouldn’t mind fighting on there – possibly against Javonne as I know its his gym’s show. I think we could co-main event that card with the hype behind our little beef we had going on, so if Tanko are reading, get in touch. Let’s talk business.
“And then after I annihilate Javonne, I’m more than happy to come back to FCC and take on whoever they want me to fight for the title. Brent can get a few wins in the meantime and I think FCC might put us on the next show for the strap. For now, I’m ready to tear the house down on Saturday night in front of my supporters!”