Lee Haskins can’t wait to face Belfast boos

IBF bantamweight champion Lee Haskins [34(14)-3(3)] is expecting a hostile atmosphere on Saturday night, but the Bristolian is happy to be fighting in the best boxing city in the world.

‘Playboy’ travels to Belfast to defend his title for a second time, taking on local lad Ryan Burnett [16(9)-0] at the SSE Odyssey Arena, live on Sky Sports.

In recent years the Titanic City has bolstered its age-old reputation as a fight town, with huge numbers flocking to support Carl Frampton at home and abroad.

Haskins, who has seen the majority of his fights take place on the road, admits he has always had a desire to box in Belfast.

The 33 year old outlined how “I know the Belfast crowd. I’ve watched Frampton and maybe I shouldn’t say it, but I will say it… they are probably the best fans in the world.”

“They’re loud and I’ve always wanted to box in front of them.”

“I’ll be the one getting booed but it is going to be a hell of an atmosphere and I can’t just wait to be there.”

While the atmosphere will be partisan in favour of Burnett, Haskins has no issue.

The Englishman has boxed up and down Britain as well as internationally in locations such as Monaco, Belgium, Spain, and even a marketplace square in Morocco.

Belfast, he believes, wont pose an issue, and Haskins stated that “it doesn’t really bother me, to be fair,”

“Boxing in his hometown isn’t a problem for me. I am an athlete and I will go anywhere I have to, to do my job. I am just going there to enjoy it.”

“It’s a ring and exactly the same as any other ring around the world and it doesn’t bother me, I’ve done it before and it’s routine for me.”

“It brings the best out of me. I’ve done it plenty of times and I’ve done it well.

The Burnett-Haskins undercard features an Irish cruiserweight title fight between Luke Watkins and Ian Tims, Feargal McCrory v Paul Holt, Paul Hyland Jr v Adam Dingsdale, James Tennyson v Ryan Doyle, and appearances from Matt Wilton, Paddy Gallagher, Carl McDonald, Padraig McCrory, Sean Magee, and Tyrone McCullagh, as well as the return of Mike Perez.

Tickets for ‘Belfast Boy’ on June 10th at the SSE Odyssey Arena cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved (which we recommend, although today is the last day tickets are available from the fighters) or HERE.

frayne carpentry

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie