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Stephen Webb questions whether Joe Fitzpatrick will be at 100% following long lay-off

Lightweight pro novice Stephen Webb [1(0)-0] claims Joe Fitzpatrick provides him the perfect chance to step onto the big stage – but argues his fellow West Belfast operator is not a big step up.

Despite only debuting last month, the St James’s fighter takes part in a domestic dual in February 9th.

The confident operator takes on Fitzpatrick [8(5)-0] on the ‘A Night To Remember’ card at the Ulster Hall and doesn’t seem too worried about the sudden move from journeyman to vaunted prospect.

‘The Dragon’ from Divis may be returning after 14-month lay-off but has been lauded as one to watch after impressing in his eight fights to date.

The undefeated MHD operator also enjoyed far more amateur success than Webb but the new pro remains undeterred.

“Some people may say it’s a big step up, yes he received a Commonwealth Games silver medal, yes he’s won the Ulster senior title and beat some of my friends in doing so, but I genuinely don’t feel it’s that big of a step up,” Webb told Irish-Boxing.com.

Before Christmas Webb went out of his way to call out current BUI Celtic light welterweight champion Victor Rabei but believes a fit and firing Fitzpatrick is a tougher test than the Dublin fighter.

“I mentioned Victor and a few others recently. I do think Fitzpatrick is a better fighter than any of them that I’ve mentioned recently, but that’s only when he’s 100%,” he continued before questioning whether or not a fighter who has been open about not living the life over the last year will be at his peak next month.

“Will he be 100% on February 9th? I don’t know but I hope so, so that there is no excuses.”

“Maybe the winner of this fight can get a crack at that BUI Celtic title?”

Despite raising questions with regard to what shape his next opponent will be in, ‘Spider’ Webb claims he isn’t looking too much into the 14 month lay off.

“I’m not taking his inactivity into consideration. I’m preparing for a 100% Joseph Fitzpatrick and that’s what I expect to see on the night and it’s my job to deal with it on the night,” he adds before outlining the rewards on offer if manages to secure an upset victory.

“I didn’t have to think twice. I jumped at the chance [to fight Fitzpatrick], it’s the perfect opportunity to announce myself onto a big stage and I know no matter what he is in the ring I’ll have an answer for it.”

Grabbing those rewards is certainly something Webb plans to do. He is adamant he is ready to do whatever it takes to take down Fitzpatrick and kick start his career in the process.

“If I have to box him for six rounds so be it, or if I have to stand and fight for six rounds so be it! Either way, I’ll get the job done,” Webb declared.

Whatever it takes I’ll get the job done and my hand will be raised, whether I’ve to go into a war or counter punch it’ll still be my hand raised.”

The pair have sparred recently and, while it may have played a part in the bout being offered and accepted on both ends, Webb wasn’t keen to reflect on how things went in the gym – but did suggest if the spars are anything to go by fans can expect a good fight.

“I don’t think any boxer should carry sparring stories on, but we sparred three times over the course of a week a few months back and I came away thinking I did very well and I’m sure on one of those days he would have felt the same.”

“On February 9th both of us will be coming into the ring full of confidence and anyone there on February 9th is going to be on the edge of there seats all night,” he continued before commenting on the local bragging rights element to the fight.

“It’s a local fight. We live very close to each other. We are from two areas that are always very competitive with each other in both football and boxing so it’s important to bring the win back to St James’s.”

“Myself and Joe haven’t been friends but we have been in each others company plenty of times. He’s a sound lad who I respect as a fighter but for the next few weeks he’s just another fighter I’m up against!”


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com