Kane Baker is promising to inflict a first career defeat on Aqib Fiaz when he locks horns with the recent Matchroom signing over eight rounds in a Lightweight contest on the undercard of Terri Harper vs. Natasha Jonas on Friday, August 7, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
In compiling 13 wins in 19 fights, Baker has faced top opposition, often at very short notice and on the other man’s turf. In only his fifth fight, Baker was halted by another Matchroom prospect, Conor Benn, the big-punching son of former WBC Super-Middleweight World Champion Nigel.
In his next fight, he agreed to meet heavy-handed Irish prospect Gary Cully at 24 hours’ notice and went the distance over four rounds in Belfast. Baker’s unquenchable, never-say-die spirit was rewarded last December when he outpointed unbeaten Ishmael Ellis for the Midlands Area Lightweight Title.
A granite toughness has seen Baker battle through a demanding professional baptism and the experienced 30-year-old believes he will be too big a test so early on in the career of Oldham’s Fiaz, who will be making his big debut as a Matchroom man.
“I was surprised they offered me this fight,” said Baker. “I wouldn’t fight me at the minute. No way. Definitely not. I can see why they did though. I’m a come forward fighter and I’ve got some decent names on my record. If he beats me then it’s a good name under his belt and he can progress quickly. I can see the logic behind it, but I’m going to be the biggest banana skin that they’ve ever put out there.
“He hasn’t been past six rounds yet. I know he was a good amateur but it’s a different game in the pros. Normally I don’t know anything about my opponents, I don’t want to know, but I’ve gone the opposite way for this one because I’ve had time through lockdown to do my homework. I’ve looked into this one and this is my chance to win.
“I don’t really watch my opponents but I’ve been told to watch him and from what I’ve seen of him, nothing really intimidates me. I’ve watched him and I’m going to keep watching him. I’m going to improve my game to beat his game. It’s a new totally different Kane Baker. I don’t think Matchroom are going to snatch me up when I beat him because I’m a bit older but he’ll come again, he’s young enough.”
FIAZ: BAKER – UNDERESTIMATE ME AT YOUR OWN PERIL
Aqib Fiaz is planning on beating Kane Baker “in style” when he meets the former Midlands Area Lightweight Champion over eight rounds in a Super-Featherweight clash at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, on Friday August 7, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Trained by Jamie Moore alongside Ireland’s two-weight World Champion Carl Frampton at the V.I.P Gym in Astley, Fiaz inked a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing following a shutout points win over Dean Jones on the Quigg vs. Carroll undercard in Manchester earlier this year.
Since turning professional in March 2019, all but one of his fights has been scheduled for four rounds, but now the 20-year-old talent leaps up to eight rounds looking to make a big statement against experienced Brummie Baker on his big Matchroom debut.
“Kane Baker is a tough guy,” said Fiaz. “I respect him. He’s a good fighter and he’s an experienced professional. I believe I’m going all the way to the top though. He’s in my way and we’ve got to get him out of the way. In my opinion, he thinks this young kid is stepping up from four rounds and jumping into an eight rounder with him too soon.
“I’ve read some of his interviews. He’s underestimating me if he thinks he’s a huge banana skin. I’ve boxed at the highest level as an amateur. I represented my country. I’m in here sparring world class elite level fighters like Carl Frampton that have won numerous World Titles. I can’t see him brining anything to the table that I can’t handle.
“I respect him and he can say what he wants. He’s watched me. I know he has. If he thinks he’s a banana skin that’s fine. I can’t really say much more than that. I’m happy for him to think that. If he thinks I’m inexperienced then he’s got another thing coming.
“If he wants to take confidence from that then that’s up to him. I don’t think his experience will make the difference on the night. I’ve been matched tough from early on. It’s a good step up for me. It’s a fight that I can win and win looking good. I’ll do it in style.”
Fiaz vs. Baker lands on Week 2 of Matchroom Camp, Terri Harper’s (10-0, 5 KOs) defence of her WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles against British rival Natasha Jonas (9-1, 7 KOs) headlines the show, Bournemouth’s Chris Billam-Smith (10-1, 9 KOs) defends his Commonwealth Title against undefeated Cardiff man Nathan Thorley (14-0, 6 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (12-1, 9 KOs) gets his second outing of the year against Adam Harper (9-1) and Leeds Featherweight prospect Hopey Price (2-0) takes on Jonny Phillips (5-4, 2 KOs).