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Stephen Webb promises to prove class against Joe Fitzpatrick in Belfast brawl

Stephen Webb [1(0)-0] is confident people will realise he is a genuine talent after he beats Joe Fitzpatrick in Belfast on May 25th.

The 23-year-old tops ‘Celtic Clash 8’ in just his second fight, manning the away corner in an intriguing West Belfast derby against top prospect Fitzpatrick [8(5)-0].

Webb is aware he goes into the clash at the Devenish Venue as an underdog with most favouring the Commonwealth Games silver medal winner and a fighter who, despite a long lay-off, is seen as one with the natural talent to progress far in the game.

However, the St James’s man is adamant he has talent too and while he didn’t live a life that allowed him make the most of it as an amateur, he is determined to right that wrong in the pros.

Webb notes that a win against the esteemed Immaculata graduate would certainly go a long way to laying down and marker and is confident he will do just that on Boxing Ireland’s return to Belfast.

“I really believe everyone will stand up and take notice of how good I am after this fight,” he told Irish-Boxing.com. 

“A win for either of us really puts the name out there more. Personally I think Gary Cully is the best lightweight in the country but other than that everyone else could beat each other on any given day in my eyes,” he adds before dismissing the underdog label he carries into the bout.

“I know I’m a huge underdog in the eyes of everyone else, but I really believe I will win.”

The bill-topper hosts two southpaws noted more for trading on style rather than guts, but Webb predicts the fight will transcending into the kind of fight that fight that launched the Celtic Clash series back in 2013.

The fighter of good boxing stock – Webb’s father was an Ulster champion and uncle a Commonwealth medal winner – is predicting that, just like the last Celtic Clash Belfast headlined between Stephen Reynolds and Declan Trainor, his clash with Fitzpatrick will be a war.

“I honestly think the fight is going to be an all out war, usually I like to stick to my boxing but I’ve been training here to throw punches non-stop for six rounds,” explained ‘The Spider’.

“I believe the only way Joe can beat me on the night is by knockout, he really believes he will do that and many others may think that too, but I see it different. I want this win so much and I’ll do whatever it takes to get it. Whoever wants it more on the night will win. This is a fight that is going to be unreal for the fans!”

The pair were initially scheduled to trade leather on a MHD card earlier this year, but the fight fell through when Fitzpatrick amicably parted ways with Mark Dunlop.

The build up to that initially scheduled bout seemed to possess bad blood as the pair’s verbal spars were more full on than technical walkthrough.

Webb claims he doesn’t know why that particular tone existed and confirms he has nothing but respect for his May 25th rival.

“I’ve honestly no idea,” he answers when asked about the tetchy build up.

“I think he took things up wrong when I said about him getting a Commonwealth silver. He achieved a lot more than me as an amateur and has more experience as a pro so therefore I fully respect him as a fighter.”

“At the end of the day we are here doing a job and anyone he gets in a ring should be well respected.”

“I rate him very highly, he had a great amateur career but I honestly don’t think there is much difference skill wise in us now days. That’s why this is going to be interesting.”

“I underachieved as an amateur because I think I was immature as a kid that’s why you aim to make things right as a pro.”

The pair sparred last year
The pair sparred last year

That extra break has given more time for Webb to get fit for his first six rounder and means ‘The Dragon’ will be 19 months out of the ring.

However, the pro newcomer doesn’t see the wait for the fight as a positive for himself. Instead he predicts it means a more entertaining occasion for the fans.

“I think the extra time will make it a better fight and more competitive. Both of us have been training from Christmas as far as I’m aware, so I think May 25tbh it will be the best of us both in the ring that night! I don’t think he will have any ring rust if I’m honest, I’m sure he’s sparred plenty of rounds and will be at his very best.”

This domestic element of this clash is stronger than any derby dust up Irish boxing has seen in recent years.

Not only are the pair from the same city they are from the same area. Indeed, so close are the pair in proximity that Webb saw Fitzpatrick out running not long before conducting this interview.

However, he points out the pair’s path haven’t crossed much over the years and doesn’t believe the Falls Road will favour one over the other going into the fight.

“All joking aside our paths haven’t really crossed that much probably a handful of times we have been in the same company.”

“It’s more two areas close by to each other but different groups, it will be a noisy venue that’s for sure! I’ve heard there is a few good ticket sellers on the bill so I’m sure they will have themselves heard when we go to war.”


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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