Simon Barclay says he’s got a surprise for English cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in Liverpool tomorrow (Saturday) night.
At just two-and-a-half weeks’ notice, Barclay has stepped in to challenge Askin for the St George’s belt at the Echo Arena.
The 10-round fight goes ahead on a bill that also features pound-for-pound star Guillermo Rigondeaux in action.
Given that he’s boxed and won at a higher level and is an established top-10 fighter, Askin has to go into the fight as the favourite.
Barclay says that doesn’t bother him.
“I know people will say I’m the underdog,” said the 26-year-old from Corby. “But I’m going there to shock people.
“My last three fights haven’t been on television and that’s good for me.
“Watching film of me boxing Paul Morris (the last time Barclay boxed on television) won’t tell Askin much.
“I was nowhere near as good then as I am now.
“I have been sparring hard, beating better opponents and I believe in myself. I feel it’s really coming together. I’ve improved so much in the last 12 months.
“I have a lot of respect for Askin, but I’ve always thought he’s someone I could beat.
“I just think he’s made for me. He looks tense, he loads up a bit and when that’s the case, you can see the shots coming.
“I think I can defend his shots and have the speed to counter him.”
Askin does have more experience at championship level.
He’s challenged for the British and Commonwealth titles and this weekend the 27-year-old from Blackpool makes his third defence of the St George’s belt.
The furthest Barclay has been in his eight-fight professional career is seven rounds, when he dismantled Micky Steeds at the Rockingham Forest Hotel last September.
Barclay said: “If Askin thinks I’m going to tire, he’s in for a shock.
“People who have seen me spar realise the longer the fight goes on, the better I’m going to be.
“He’s probably underestimating my power as well, but I do think the fight will go 10 rounds.
“He’s been in there with the best and he’s tough, but I think I will wear him down.”
The record books show it takes a good fighter – Jon-Lewis Dickinson, Krzysztof Glowacki and Ovill McKenzie – to beat Askin and Barclay said: “If I beat him, there’s no reason why I can’t fight anyone afterwards.
“That’s the level he’s at.”
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