Light heavyweight boxer and stonemason Steve Lovett. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
He's an apprentice stonemason who will sleep in a swag on the floor of his boss's garage to save rent, but Canberra boxer Steve Lovett says he's ready to release 331 days of pent-up frustration and put his opponent on the canvas as part of Australia's biggest fight night of the year.
While Anthony Mundine and Daniel Geale stand to earn millions from their world title rematch in Sydney on January 30, Lovett's biggest payday from six undefeated pro bouts is $1200.
But the 27-year-old says he's prepared to lose money to continue training with world champion Geale and to reach his own potential, beginning with his fight on the Mundine-Geale undercard next Wednesday night.
World champion boxer Daniel Geale (left) with Canberra boxer Steve Lovett.
Geale last year predicted Lovett would become a world title contender in the light heavyweight class, but the Canberra boxer's career has been left in limbo because of a frustrating run of cancelled fights.
Lovett hasn't stepped inside the ring since March 6 last year, a string of opponents and events falling over. Even his fight on the Mundine-Geale undercard was in jeopardy until this week, before promoters booked Western Australia's Jeremy Allan as a last-minute replacement for Queensland's Joel Casey.
''I was supposed to be fighting the No. 5 light heavyweight [Casey] but I think he ran into a bit of trouble with the law and that was only last week,'' Lovett said.
Boxer Steve Lovett. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
''I was so worried, I was thinking 'not this again, this can't happen to me again'. Especially this time, I've trained harder than I have before … I'm in the best shape I've ever been.
''I'm bloody jumping out of my skin … I just want to get in there and throw some punches.''
Lovett is so desperate to succeed in the ring, he travels to Sydney to train three days a week with Geale and former world title contender Jamie Pittman at the Grange Old School Boxing gym.
IBF world champion Geale last year said of Lovett, ''he'll definitely be cracking for world titles I believe''.
Instead, Lovett has been forced to crack rocks for a living over the past year as he completes a stonemason apprenticeship in Canberra.
The former Australian amateur champ works three days a week and will now start living in his boss' garage so he can devote any spare money he has to training.
''Travelling to Sydney every week puts me out of pocket, especially only working three days a week,'' Lovett said. ''Doing it as hard as I am, [my boss] just said 'to make it easier for you, stay in my garage, chuck a swag out there'. I'm just trying to get to the top, so I'm going to do whatever it takes to be the best at boxing. I live for it.
''Every session I do is 100 per cent, no less. I just want to be the best at this, this is what I've chosen to do. I want to be a professional boxer and make a living out of it.
''If I have a good fight [on Wednesday] and keep that momentum going, get the fights under my belt, that's what it's all about. [I just want] to get that roll on and to move through the rankings towards an Australian title.''
Lovett said he'd been inspired by training with Geale, while he has done the bulk of his sparring with Pittman. Obviously in Geale's corner, Lovett's focus is on his own battle.
''This is one of the biggest fights in Australia in a long time but, to be honest, I'm focusing on what I've got to do in the ring. After I fight, I get to sit back, watch and enjoy the [Mundine-Geale] fight.
''Only last week [Geale] gave me a little bit of advice when I was doing the sparring rounds with Pittman, he's got a good eye for boxing obviously, he knows what he's talking about, he's world champion … he's always got an eye out for me.''