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Lee Haskins: "I shouldn't have to defend my title overseas"

622 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Roe
Lee Haskins feels hard done by at having to defend his European Boxing Union bantamweight title overseas.

Having won the vacant crown by defeating Stuart Hall at Clevedon in July, the Bristolian had hoped to make his first defence in front of his hometown fans.

But not only has the 28-year-old former British and Commonwealth flyweight champion been denied home advantage, he is now being forced to put his belt and reputation on the line against mandatory challenger Stephane Jamoye in the Belgian's own Liege backyard on Friday (14th Dec).

A date and venue could not be found on the domestic calendar, despite Bristol promoter Chris Sanigar winning the purse bids, and Haskins must again do things the hard way.

"I'm fed up with always having to travel and fight away from home," said the Lockleaze-based southpaw.

"I've won a major title and I'm a British sporting champion, yet I cannot defend the title in my own country.

"I understand the problem with venues in Bristol - it has always been the same old story here - but I cannot understand not being given the opportunity to make my first defence somewhere in England.

"At least that would have given my supporters the chance to come and watch me. I doubt too many are going to be able to afford the trip to Belgium just before Christmas.

"I'm disappointed in the boxing managers in this country and I'm disappointed in the TV companies. I really do believe more could have been done to look after a successful British boxer.

"This is no way to reward me for winning the title last summer. Jamoye is only the challenger and gets to fight at home and, because I'm having to travel, I won't earn any more than I did when beating Stuart Hall. But that's the way it is and I'm just going to have to accept it and get on with it."

Since he last fought in Bristol in 2007, Haskins has taken to the road to win a series of championship belts, successes that have taken him to within touching distance of a world title shot.

And he has no intention of allowing Jamoye to block his progress now that he is so close to the top level.

Jamoye's only three defeats have all come outside of Belgium and the 23-year-old has yet to lose in 20 fights staged in his home town.

Haskins remains unimpressed and he said: "All records are there to be ended and I'll end this one.

"It doesn't matter that I've got to do it the hard way and fight in his own backyard. I've been in this position plenty of times in my career and I've always overcome all the obstacles put in my way.

"I'm frustrated at having to go to Belgium and I'll take that frustration out on Jamoye on the night."

The fight will be televised live from 10 pm this Friday on ESPN in the UK.
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Yeah I'm not agreeing with Haskins here tbh. Even if we had a decent arena here in Bristol, I doubt Haskins would sell enough to make it worth him fighting here.
Aaah.. now I get why Haskins is really upset about this fight not being in England..

The former British and Commonwealth flyweight champion admitted: "I really don't like flying at all. In fact, don't even ask me about it!

"I've flown in the past and it has always made me feel uneasy. It makes me nervous and I don't think anything is going to change in that respect. Chris loves flying and just booked the tickets out of convenience. I would much rather have gone by Eurostar, even if it does take a lot longer. But I don't have any choice in the matter and I'll just have to deal with it."

He added: "I now feel I'm involved in three fights. I have to make the weight, which is always a bit of a battle, and I then have to fight Jamoye. By far the biggest fight for me is having to fly and, compared with getting onto the plane, the other two things do not worry me at all. If I can overcome my fear of flying, I'm sure I can be spot on at the weigh in and then beat the Belgian boy."
Not for the first time..
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