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Stephen Webb thanks Joe Fitzpatrick for motivating smack talk

Stephen Webb [1(0)-0] has thanked Joe Fitzpatrick for his pre-fight antics ahead of their derby clash tonight.

The St James’s fighter claims they have proved a major motivating factor and have helped him get into the physical and mental state needed to win the ‘Celtic Clash 8’ bill topper.

The John Breen-trained lightweight has tried to be that bit more reserved since the fight was rescheduled, but Fitzpatrick [8(5)-0] has remained forthright in expressing a belief that he is the much better fighter of the two.

‘The Dragon’ has predicted his fellow West Belfast southpaw will retire or become a journeyman after their clash, has promised a knockout win, and questioned whether or not Webb was struggling at the weight.

Webb has taken the verbal barbs onboard but, rather than being ruffled, ‘The Spider’ claims they have spurred him on.

“I think he is trying to get in my head, but I used it as fuel for the fire and in training,” he explained to Irish-Boxing.com.

“I’ll use it smartly on the night too. I have to thank him because he got me well up for the fight. There is no disrespect from my end, but I am motivated more than ever to win.

“He said in an interview recently I am struggling to make the weight, but this is the easiest I have made weight. I will be bigger and stronger and when I hit him he will feel it.”

“We are both confident and it’s going to be a good match up.”

Webb himself had indulged in some trash-talk, especially before the pair’s inital fight date in February, but the Holy Trinity BC graduate has been more reserved in the build-up to tonight.

Calm and confident, Webb describes how “the first time the fight was announced there was a bit of tension then, but to be honest now it’s not on my behalf. If there is tension it’s from him. I just see it as another fight.”

“I am extremely relaxed. Everything has gone well. Sparring has been brilliant.  I have been sparring Marco McCullough, James Tennyson, Feargal McCrory and Sean Duffy all for this fight. Sparring has been really good and I am feeling really sharp. I am really really looking forward to it.”

“I haven’t brought the word losing into this camp at all. A win for me now and anything is possible.”

Undoubtedly the underdog, Webb warns Fitzpatrick that he will not be able to walk through him.

“He thinks he is going to knock me out. He has no chance of that, I can tell you that now,” he states.

“I have been caught by big shots in sparring by the likes of Paddy Gal, Lewis Crocker and even Anto Upton, he hits hard too, and I took them and came looking for more. I am ready for a war and he will have to kill me to get me out of the ring.”

“He is a quality boxer and I know I have to be 100 percent on the night to beat him – and I will be 100 percent.”

The two fighters sparred last year and this session has been the subject of a lot of talk.

Giving the final word on the work, Webb detailed how “3e sparred in July last year. It was a good spar and I think both of us could have walked away happy with the spar. I picked that spar as my spar for getting a licence so the BUI were watching it.”

“When we left the ring they said ‘you wouldn’t even know who is the Commonwealth silver medal winner was’. I think this could be the same and the fans are in for a real, real treat.”


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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