Bristol’s Lee Haskins is just a few weeks away from fighting Randy ‘El Matador’ Caballero for the IBF bantamweight world title in Las Vegas and promoter Jamie Sanigar is glad his fighter is finally getting the special opportunity he deserves.
It has been a frustrating few years for Haskins (32-3, 14 KO), as he has tried to build a successful career, despite not being part of one of the UK’s top promotional stables.
With that, former opponents he has triumphed over – the likes of Jamie McDonnell and Stuart Hall – have gone on to win world honours before the 31 year-old.
But Haskins finally got his break in June as he defeated Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa to win the interim IBF belt and now has the opportunity to win the full version on the undercard of Miguel Cotto’s blockbuster clash with Canelo Alvarez.
“It’s a brilliant opportunity for Haskins and it will be a very special week for him. He has had a lot of frustration over the years, not being on Sky Sports for example and has had to do it the hard way. We have had a good relationship with Mick Hennessy and Channel 5 over the past few years and it’s with them that we have got into this position,” Sanigar told World Boxing News.
“It’s going to be quite surreal during fight week, but we are well grounded. Lee’s just a simple lad from a council estate in Bristol and now he will be sat on the same table as the likes of Cotto and Canelo, but he’s there on merit. Not many British boxers get the opportunity to fight for a world title in Las Vegas and I’m sure Lee will make the most of it.
“Caballero is a very good and established fighter, but it certainly isn’t mission impossible for Lee. He’s a top fighter, but he’s not a young Oscar De La Hoya – we aren’t going over to fight someone of that ilk. I’m confident Lee can beat him.”
While it has taken Haskins 35 fights to finally get his shot at a world title, Sanigar is expecting things to come a lot quicker for flyweight Andrew Selby – younger brother of IBF featherweight world champion Lee Selby.
After a glittering amateur career, Selby, 26 years of age, recently joined the pro ranks and debuted with a comfortable fourth round victory over Haji Juma in a scheduled eight-rounder. Selby will next fight on November 14, against an as of yet unnamed opponent.
“Andrew is 27 soon and we haven’t really got time to wait around. The standard he has been boxing at, it would be pointless to drop him down and fight journeymen,” Sanigar said.
“An opportunity arose for him to fight on Channel 5 and we had to take it. It get’s him out to the masses and will be a major TV audience. We are working on an opponent and looking for quality; even in his debut fight, the opponent was decent quality and had a good record and we expected him to take Andrew further than four rounds.
“We have to fast-track Andrew, he has too much ability to wait around. Within a few months, he should be fighting for domestic titles and within a year I expect him to be on the verge of a world title.”
Matt Horan is a staff writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123