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‘I can’t let someone from Divis beat me’ – Webb stokes up local rivalry ahead of derby

Stephen Webb claims local pride and the support of his area will get him through any potential tough times during the Celtic Clash 8 bill topper this weekend.

Indeed, the St James fighter went as far as to suggest he won’t allow himself to fall short against Divis opposition.

The West Belfast fighter takes a massive step up in just his second pro fight and takes on the returning Joe Fitzpatrick at the Devenish this Saturday night.

The lightweight admits he faces a talented operator and knows he will have to be at the top of his game in a clash he predicts will be close and entertaining.

The Holy Trinity BC graduate predicts the fight could come down to who wants it more and he is adamant the local rivalry element will his desire levels are through the roof.

“I am expecting him to come out all guns blazing and if he does great. I’ll meet him in the middle of the ring and whoever wants it more will win the fight – and believe me I want it more,” Webb told Irish-boxing.com.

“There is not a chance, me being from St James, I am going to let someone from Divis come in and beat me. The boys have me well up for the fight, they are loving it and any time it gets tough I will think of St James.”

The bill topping pair literally live around the corner from each other, but are from two separate West Belfast areas and Webb reveals there is a history of competition between the two differing addresses.

“He just lives around the corner, but the areas are different and there is a rivalry between them. It’s nothing bad just a bit of competitiveness and I am sure you will see the two different crowds on the night.

The pair sparred last year
The pair sparred last year

“I don’t dislike Joe and I see him as a good boxer, he is a very good boxer and person as well. Obviously over the last eight weeks you can’t like someone your fighting and you can feed of the rivalry between the areas.

“There is a rivalry there in football between St James Swifts and Immaculata as well. It’s just like that and I think it will mean a good atmosphere.  The hall will buzzing on the night. I am expecting a really good night and I am 100 percent up for it.”

Whist Webb is keen to get the win for St James there is also a selfish reasons for wanting his hand raised.

The John Breen trained fighter is aware what a win over a more experienced and more high profile operator would do for his career.

Webb would jump up the lightweight ladder with victory and has been told by Boxing Ireland that to the victor goes the chance to earn BUI Celtic title spoils.

“A lot of people have been saying what a win can do for my career so I  am aware of that. In the gym and outside the gym everything has been positive. I have kept myself to myself. I haven’t done much. I have trained and gone home and rested and that’s it really. I am just focused on getting this win,” he continues.

“This win, and it will be a win, will open big doors and I can’t wait for that. I was speaking to Leonard (Gunning of Boxing Ireland Promotions) and he wants me back out in September. He said if I win this and I might get the Celtic title fight. He also said if this is a close fight we might rematch for the Celtic title.”



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