Carshalton’s Lenny Daws aims to become European super-lightweight champion at the second time of asking on December 5 at the Westcroft Leisure Centre, just a stone’s throw from his home, and is adamant he’ll leave nothing to chance.
The 36-year-old fought for the European title in 2013, when he dropped a controversial 12-round decision to Michele Di Rocco in Italy, but has won five on the spin since and goes into his December 5 contest with Spain’s Ruben Nieto full of confidence.
“I’m over the moon to be getting another shot,” he said. “I knew after the controversial first shot that I’d probably get another opportunity at some point, so long as I kept on winning. To have it in the UK, and have it in my hometown, is just unbelievable, though. It’s an amazing thing.
“When we picked up the EU title in November, we knew what our target was and we knew it wouldn’t be long. I’ve had to stay patient, I’ve had to bide my time, but it’s here now.
“Di Rocco held us up for a while and I knew he didn’t fancy it, but he got his big opportunity and vacated the title, which was great for us.
“It’s down to me now to push on and do the business against Ruben Nieto. I know he’s going to be a tough opponent. He’s going to come to win. I have to be on my A-game.”
Madrid’s Nieto has won 16 of 17 professional fights, ending eight of them within the scheduled distance, and he too lost a close and contentious decision to Di Rocco in a European title fight last October. The 32-year-old is also, like Daws, a former EU super-lightweight champion, having beaten Jean Pierre Bauwens in 2013 to win the belt.
“I’ve watched a few of his fights,” said Lenny. “I watched his fight with Di Rocco to see how he copes over the 12 rounds. He’s a very busy fighter at times. It will make for a very exciting fight.
“His fight with Di Rocco was fairly close, but, because it took place in Nieto’s country, the scorecards were closer than they should have been. Nieto was put over twice and I can’t see how Di Rocco was only one point up on the scorecards. I just don’t know how they saw it that way. I thought Di Rocco did enough to nick the fight. It wasn’t as close as they made it out to be.”
In a battle of two fighters with extraordinary work-rates and fitness levels, Daws knows his ability to out-throw and out-land Nieto could prove crucial on the night.
“We know I’ve got to be busy and we know I’ve got to be at my best to beat Nieto,” said Daws, 30-3-2 (11 KOs). “And I know I will be.
“He puts a bit of pressure on, he comes forward and he doesn’t like to take a backward step. But that’s about it. Other than that, there’s not much to report.
“Should he change tactics on the night, we’ll suss him out round-by-round and adapt to what he tries to do. I’m sure we’ll be able to work him out fairly quickly.
“We’re expecting him to fight at a high pace and be busy. He’s fighting in my country, so he knows he has to be active and make a statement. He won’t be able to just cruise through the rounds. He knows he’s got to put it on me.
“It will boil down to fitness in the end. As it goes on, I tend to get stronger. I’ve had more 12-round fights than he has and I’ve got experience over him, which should play its part late in the fight. I need to use all the experience I’ve got. He’s only had half the amount of fights I’ve had. I’ll use that to my advantage and make him feel out of his depth.”
*** A limited amount of tickets for Destiny: Daws vs. Nieto are priced at £100 and £40 and can be purchased from the Ticketline on 0844 888 4402 ***