Midlands Area bantamweight champion Ashley Lane hasn’t had it easy so far in his four-and-a-half-year professional career, but has rebounded from set-backs, learnt from defeats and now has sights set on winning the British title in 2016.
The 25-year-old, originally from Northampton, boxes in Bristol, his adopted home city, on November 14 and is keen to use the performance to put him in the mix for more domestic title shots.
“I’ve got some big ambitions and a big future ahead of me,” he said. “This time next year I’d like to be British champion. I lost in an English title fight against Ryan Farrag, which was probably the worst performance of my career, and I’d love to get another shot at that belt early next year. After that, I’ll be looking to get my hands on the British title.
“I’m only 25. I’ve got another eight to ten years left in the game. All I want to do is train and box. My last fight was in March and it’s been killing me to wait all this time for my next one. I’ve just wanted to get in the ring and fight. I even considered going on the road and fighting as an opponent, just so I could get active again. I want to fight every weekend. That’s what I live for.”
Last time out, Lane produced the win of his career in defeating Brett Fidoe over the ten-round distance at Bristol’s City Academy. The victory landed him the Midlands Area bantamweight title.
“It was a proud moment for me,” he said. “It wasn’t one of my best performances, but it was a against a tough kid in Brett Fidoe. He’s the hardest puncher I’ve ever faced. I’ve boxed the likes of Kal Yafai and Ryan Farrag, and they’ve hit me with good shots, but Fidoe hit so much harder than they did. He hit me and it felt like a sledgehammer. It was concussive power. I just had to get through that fight unscathed and pick up the belt at the end, which I did. That belt, for me, is just the first step.”
Lane credits his recent improvements to re-locating to Bristol two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, he says, the opportunity to learn from Chris Sanigar and to spar with Lee Haskins has brought his own game on leaps and bounds.
“I’ve improved massively,” he said. “I always try and take something from every fight and use it and learn from it, but it’s only been since I’ve moved to Bristol that I’ve really started learning and developing.
“When I was up north and fighting the likes of Josh Wale and Gavin McDonnell, they were good fights, but fights I could have easily won. I just wasn’t improving from fight to fight back then. I was standing still as a fighter. More recently, though, I’ve had fights with Yafai and Farrag and have improved so much in the months after them.”
The presence and influence of Haskins, in particular, has left a clear impression on Lane.
“To spar with Haskins before his world title fight on November 21 (against IBF world bantamweight champion Randy Caballero) is just a dream come true,” said Lane. “I can’t ask for a better training partner or sparring partner.
“You can learn so much from Lee. I’m learning lessons all the time just by being around him. The way he handles himself is so impressive. He just relaxes. He doesn’t care what people think. He simply gets in there and does the business. His experience allows him to stay relaxed and take it all in his stride. That will be important in Vegas against Caballero. I can honestly see him knocking out Caballero.”
Lane added: “Lee just keeps improving all the time. I know when he was younger he didn’t train as hard as he does nowadays, and he spent a lot of time going out, but he’s really knuckled down in recent years and he’s flying.
“I’ve seen a massive difference in his dedication and determination for his last two fights. He’s really taken it up a whole new level. And it’s showed in his performances, too.”
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