Leading bantamweight contenders Lee Haskins and Ryosuke Iwasa both believe their IBF Interim World Bantamweight Title fight on Saturday night (June 13) will be decided within the scheduled distance – by knockout – and aren’t planning on leaving anything in the hands of the judges.
The two title challengers met this afternoon at a pre-fight press conference in Bristol, days before they contest the IBF title at the Action Indoor Sports Arena, and both appeared relaxed and ready for business.
“I believe I’m going to be crowned world champion on Saturday night,” said Haskins. “I want to put on a great show for the fans.
“We didn’t even think we’d get a world title shot, so to get a world title shot and get it in Bristol is amazing. Fighting in front of your own fans gives any fighter that extra push. You can go that extra mile.
“I’ve trained extremely hard for this fight and if I can’t do 12 rounds at a good pace this Saturday, I’ll never be able to do it.
“But the fight won’t go twelve rounds. Either I get knocked out or he gets knocked out. I don’t see it going the distance. We both want it so bad and I want to win it in style.”
Japanese star Iwasa appeared in total agreement.
“I don’t expect to go the distance,” said the 25-year-old. “I will try to knock him out in the middle rounds. That will be more entertaining for the fans.
“I’m nervous but excited and I’m looking forward to winning this fight. I try to do the basic boxing skills and I will try to produce a beautiful boxing style to show the British people.
“It’s a big risk to come over from Japan to Bristol, but it will be a big gain if I win this fight. If I do win this fight, I can go back to Japan as a hero.
“We’re both fighters and we both want to win this fight. I hope the people of Bristol have a good show to watch.”
Thirty-one-year-old Haskins, a man who has won pretty much everything in the game except a world title, knows this could be his one shot at world glory.
“Every fight could spell retirement for me,” he said. “If I lose, I could retire. That’s why I’ve put so much hard work into this fight.
“Iwasa said he doesn’t think it will go 12 rounds and I think he’s right. I think I’ll stop him in the middle rounds. I’ve seen him fight and he’s a great fighter – let’s put on a great fight for everybody.
“So long as I’m at my best, I think I can beat anybody out there.”
*** Lee Haskins and Ryosuke Iwasa fight for the vacant IBF Interim World Bantamweight Title and Bob Ajisafe and Daniel Wanyonyi fight for the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title on June 13 at Bristol’s Action Indoor Sports Arena. For tickets, please contact the Ticketline Box Office on 0117 949 6699 ***