The time has finally arrived for Southern Area super-welter czar Asinia Byfield to show he has the skill set to supplement his soaring self-belief, writes Glynn Evans.
The loose and lithe 5ft 11in Reading man defends for a second time against Sam McNess on the talent laced fight bonanza at London’s Copper Box Arena on July 8th.
‘This is a great stage to announce myself,’ says the 28 year old who styles himself as ‘DGhost’.
‘When I beat McNess in style before a TV audience, everything will become that much easier. Sponsors will come on board and all doors should open for me. I’m destined to be a headliner and on 8th July, I’ll steal the limelight. I’ll be the name on every fan’s lips.
‘You’ll see every aspect of boxing when I’m in the ring. I watch loads of tapes of world champions but not many box like me. There’s a lot of (Vasyl) Lomachenko to me; hit and move, switching whilst punching. I can go front or back foot, fight inside or outside and I’m a thinker as well; whatever it takes to win a fight.
‘I’ve already sparred (current British champ) Liam Williams when he was five or six kilos heavier than me. I’d fight him or Liam Smith tomorrow and beat them. Knowledgeable coaches don’t put their boys in with me. It always amazes me to hear how anyone thinks they can beat me.’
A relative latecomer to the sport at 16, boastful Byfield concedes that he won barely half of his 43 amateur contests in the singlet of Reading ABC.
However, he has proved a revelation since vaulting to the paid code in April 2015. Whilst his CV lists a ten round defeat to Stepney based Kazakh Arthur Hermann in an inaugural Area title challenge 15 months ago, Asinia, unsurprisingly, still considers himself unbeaten.
‘I accepted that fight just a week after my nine month old son Travyon passed away from a cot death,’ says the father of five who is managed and promoted by Mickey Helliet.
‘It was a horrid decision that came close to breaking me. I was amazing but don’t think the ref appreciated my showboating! It would’ve been a lot harder to rob me had the fight been shown on TV. I couldn’t leave the house for 10 days after.
‘Hermann was supposedly this huge puncher up at middleweight and I’d not been more than four rounds at the time. But he landed barely eight punches, only jabs, all night whilst I beat the crap out of him.
‘As underdog, I enter fights a few rounds down before the first bell has sounded. Thereafter, I’ve chased the knockouts. When I beat up Erick Ochieng to win the title (pts 10) I went a bit too gung ho, neglected my skills but against John Brennan (rsc6, opening defence), I finally put everything together; back foot, front foot, skills and power, the full package.’
That sizzling showing catapulted Byfield into a profile enhancing TV gig with 7-0 ex-amateur star McNess and already the pair has been trading bombs through social media.
‘There’s genuine friction because he’s been fed from the silver spoon, on the tail of his dad (ex pro Steve McNess),’ claims Byfield.
‘Sam’s been fighting on BoxNation since his first fight whereas I’ve been through hell and back. No one’s done me favours. I’ve had to really toil to build my own genuine fan base.
‘I expect McNess to be fit but he holds no other qualities. I hold the advantage in all areas. I can’t give McNess one edge. He has better pedigree but, ability wise, I’m levels above him. All those national junior titles he won were years back.
‘His technique is very basic. He has no flair, marches forward in straight lines, can’t box back foot. There’s not much to him. Initially, he’ll come looking for me but watch him go into a panic and try to counter back foot once he tastes my power.
‘It depends how resilient he is but I expect to get him out by the fourth round. If he stays any longer he’ll take a severe beating and eventually end up on his back.
‘After every knockdown, every win, I ‘dab’ (dance) and all my fans ‘dab’ back. Expect to see a lot of ‘dabbing’ on July 8th!’
Elsewhere on the card Bradley Skeete has the chance to win his British Welterweight strap outright against Dale Evans; Light-Heavyweight monster Anthony Yarde challenges Richard Baranyi for the WBO European belt; Darryll Williams and Jahmaine Smyle rematch for the English Super-Middleweight belt after their Fight of the Year contender in April; undefeated Heavyweight Hughie Fury makes his eagerly-awaited return and teenage Heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois looks to move to 4-0.
Tickets for Byfield v McNess priced at £40, £50, £100, £150 and £250 are available from www.eventim.co.uk