Willie Limond will make the first defence of his IBO Intercontinental lightweight title against Luton’s Graham Earl at Glasgow’s Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on Saturday June 14. Limond captured the belt after a hard-fought 12-round battle with Coatbridge’s Martin Watson at the SECC in March and the 29-year-old joiner from Gartharmlock is delighted to be making a quick return to the ring..
The Watson bout was Limond’s first since losing his Commonwealth crown to Amir Khan eight months previously, and even that eight round defeat followed an eight month interlude.
Limond said: “I’m happy to stay active. I had a few weeks off after my fight with Watson, but I’m now back to full training in the gym and glad to be boxing on a regular basis.
“It’s a privilege to be topping the bill at the SECC again. Braveheart Promotions put on a great show last time and the atmosphere was electric. I’m hoping that I’ll put on another good show for the fans as part of a good night’s entertainment.”
Earl was vanquished by Limond’s old foe Khan in the first round of his last fight, leaving question marks as to whether the 29-year-old Lutonian should hang up his gloves.
However, Limond believes he will encounter a different Earl compared to the version that was spared further punishment by referee Howard Foster after only 72 seconds following a sustained onslaught from Khan back in December.
Limond said: “I think Earl is a good boxer. It seemed that he got caught cold when he fought Khan, and I certainly won’t be reading too much into that result. I’m training for the Graham Earl that fought and beat the likes of Steve Murray, Bobby Vanzie and Yuri Romanov.”
Earl insists that his stoppage loss to Khan was premature and that he should have been allowed to continue.
He said: “The fight shouldn’t have been stopped. Khan jumped on me, which I didn’t expect, but I wasn’t hurt. I’ve only ever been hurt five times in my career and I could tell you who the five guys are that hurt me, but I can assure you that Khan isn’t one of them.
“I tried to throw a punch back, but I slid down the ropes and that’s when the referee intervened. Fair play to Khan, he jumped on me and got the win.”
Former WBU, British and Commonwealth champion Earl added: “Ideally I wouldn’t have picked this fight because I consider Willie to be a friend in the boxing world, but for me it is a way back into the title mix and for Willie it is a way to move forward.
“We will still be friends after the fight because it is just business. Willie is a very good technical fighter. He has speed, power and at his last fight I could hear his shots from outside the ring.
“Having said that, I’m coming to Glasgow to win the IBO Intercontinental title and that will be my first step on the road to a world title shot. I still believe I will win a world title.”