British Masters Title challenger, Michael Devine, insists that he is going to teach his opponent, Danny Connor, ‘some respect’ when they face-off against each-other at York Hall on Saturday night.
Following Connor’s controversial comments made about Devine’s home town, Luton, the Bedfordshire boxer plans to make his rival regret his remarks as he battles it out for his third belt.
Connor previously stated that he will retire from professional boxing if he loses on September 6, and Devine – also known as ‘Chunky’ – believes that his opponent has sealed his own fate.
‘Some guys can let their nerves get the better of them and say stupid things as a fight edges closer, so I wasn’t totally surprised when I heard what Danny had came out with.’ Devine said.
‘He even tried getting into my head at the press conference and was completely laughed off. He, quite bizarrely, listed the individual records of all of my previous opponents – straight off the top of his head. I don’t think anyone knew what to say. It seemed a bit obsessive, to be honest.
‘His problem is that he takes all of this too personally. For me, it’s just business.
‘He’s misjudged me by thinking he could draw me into playing mind-games, but he’s completely failed. His stupid comments only make me more motivated to beat him and take the title.
‘I respect him as a boxer for what he’s achieved in his career, but I’m going to teach him some respect. He’ll learn that if he’s got something to say, he should say it to my face or in the ring in future. But I do hope we can shake hands afterwards and move on.’
With it being one of the most anticipated domestic fights of the year, both sides are expected to have large parties cheering them on in Bethnal Green – which will also double-up as a final eliminator for the Southern Area Title for the winner.
With both having already held the honour at different weights, needless to say that they are desperate to return to that level and have the opportunity to step-up even higher.
Devine, whose record reads 11-1 – which includes winning the International Masters and Southern Area belts in two different divisions, will compete at his preferred lightweight with Connor – who will make his debut at the weight.
Although more experienced than him, Chunky believes that Connor has already peaked in his career, and that it’s his own time and opportunity to step-up and show what he can do.
He added: ‘It’s a big fight and people are so interested in it because there isn’t a lot between us.
‘Danny’s achieved what he’s achieved in his career, and I respect that, but he’s had his shot. This fight is about me – the new kid who people are talking about – and whether I can mix it with the best. He’s on the way down, I’m on the way up. That’s boxing.
‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s just another test for me to overcome. It isn’t going to be an easy one, but I’m in the best physical and mental shape of my career, and I’ve never been more motivated for a fight as I am for this one.
‘I’ve had a fantastic training camp in Belfast, and I’ve worked with my team to ensure that every base is covered.
‘I’ve won both of my previous title-fights, and know exactly how to prepare for and approach the big, pressure fights.
‘As Danny said in the press conference, he’s already considering retirement. I don’t know how he can enter the ring with something like that in his mind. All I’m personally thinking about is winning a third belt and looking to the future. I’m the hungrier fighter for this, and I’ll do what I need to do to win this fight.
‘The only thing standing in my way of my big break is Danny. I’m going to take this opportunity with both hands.’