Ennis inspired by 'blessing' from heavyweight great Lewis

Jaron “Boots” Ennis is relishing Saturday’s fight with Roiman Villa after the “blessing” of working with heavyweight great Lennox Lewis.

The 26 year old fights Villa at The Ballroom in the Boardwalk Hall of Atlantic City, and has targeted making a statement on the same night as Eimantas Stanionis-Vergil Ortiz and in the same month Terence Crawford finally fights Errol Spence.

Ennis fought and beat Karen Chukhadzhian in January and more recently has experienced the arrival to his father and trainer Bozy’s gym Philly 1 On 1 Boxing of exciting Cuban amateur Andy Cruz.

Cruz, like “Boots” Ennis, will be trained by the respected Bozy Ennis, but before his move there upon turning professional with Matchroom none other than Lewis came to town.

Among others, Lewis was trained by the late, great Emanuel Steward and spent some time counselling the fighter considered the world’s most promising welterweight, who in turn said: “He watched me spar a while back. It was cool to have him here, and see a former world champion – a legend. It was cool to have him around. It was definitely a dope experience.

“I think he hit my dad up or something. A lot of former champions and guys have been coming down here. Nonito Donaire came down here, too. It’s a lot of people that come down here and want to work with us.

“He said he just liked my style, and he liked what I’m doing and things like that. I appreciate it – it’s wise words from a legend. I mean, if he were to give me some advice, of course I would listen, y’know? You can learn from anybody, even a little kid, y’know?

“He’s a heavyweight, so I wasn’t watching too many heavyweights [when I was younger], but I’ve definitely seen a few of his highlights and a few of his fights and he had that knockout power. It’s definitely a blessing to have him come the gym while I was here. 

“It was definitely cool – my dad worked with him a little bit. Gave him some stick work, and pad work. He was giving him a few pointers.”

Colombia’s Villa, 30, earned a majority decision over Rashidi Ellis in January on the same night Ennis defeated Chukhadzhian via unanimous decision.

“I definitely watched [Donaire] coming up, too,” Ennis continued of another visitor to their gym in Philadelphia. “I seen when he fought a few people, like [Guillermo] Rigondeaux – he’s got a big left hook. 

“It was cool to have him around here – another former champion. He’s still active, too, so it was cool to just be around him.

“We didn’t really chat like that – it was more like regular conversation. Just talking about boxing in general, and he was telling me the things that my dad was teaching him, and stuff like that, but nothing too crazy. We were just talking about boxing – all the fights that were coming up, what I was doing, and things like that. Same with Lennox.”