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Michael Devine announces ‘fight of the year’ against Danny Connor



Michael Devine has announced that he will face Danny Connor in the ‘fight of the year’ on September 6 at York Hall in a potential eliminator for the Southern Area Lightweight Title.

The two-weight champion, who initially won the belt at Super Featherweight level in March 2013, will step-up divisions against Connor for the opportunity to face current holder Adam Dingsdale.

Devine, also known as ‘Chunky’, successfully made the transition from Super Featherweight to Lightweight earlier this year when he beat Tornike Tortladze to be crowned as the International Masters Silver Champion.

And the Luton boxer can’t wait for the opportunity to fight for another belt, and believes that the September showdown will be one of the fights of the year.

He said: ‘It’s not often fights like these come around where two of the best and most promising boys face off against each-other this early on in their careers.

‘Some promoters and managers want to protect their guys as much as possible and not put them in these situations. But we’re both desperate to step-up, and these are the fights you need to get passed.

‘These are the fights where a star is usually born, and the fans get to see a glimpse of what could be the next big thing coming up in British boxing.

‘There’s been some banter flying about online. But I’m a naturally relaxed person anyway so the big occasions don’t really have too much of an affect on me.

‘I’ll look to bring a big crowd down and get the place packed out with Team Chunky supporters, so we’ll see on the night how Danny gets on with a hostile reception.’

Devine, who has won 11 of his 12 professional bouts, admits that his decision to accept the fight this early on in his career was initially greeted with surprise by a few within boxing.

But the Luton puncher hopes to follow in the footsteps of local greats Graham Earl and Billy Schwer, and insists that he has no interest in wasting his time with journeymen.

In what is expected to be a sold-out York Hall for the occasion, Devine is confident the winner will also go on to eventually earn a shot at the British title.

He added: ‘I’m not interested in padding out my record which a lot of guys do. At first it’s obviously a good idea to get the experience. But you eventually reach a certain level when you gain nothing from it – boxing-wise – and become known as someone who ducks the big fights – and that’s not who I am.

‘In terms of experience, I’m still quite young. I may only be 12 fights in, but you can see what I’ve already achieved in winning the Southern Area and Masters at two different weights.

‘I’m at the stage of my career when I’m hungry and desperate to win titles, and everything else is just a distraction.

‘I’m from a town where some of the greatest boxers this country has ever seen have come from, and I want to be every bit as good as them and bring some glory back to Luton.

‘If Danny’s people want to see me as the underdog, that’s OK. I’m fine with that tag, because it’s usually the guys who underestimate their opponents who end up getting bitten.

‘I’m still young and I’m not the finished article yet, but neither is Danny. I do my homework on all of my opponents building up to fights religiously, and I work myself like a dog for them in training. I’ll end up knowing Danny’s weaknesses better than he knows them himself, and I’ll look to exploit every one of them.

‘When it comes to boxing, I know where I’ve come from. But nobody is going to stand in my way in reaching my goals. I’m just a standard working guy. I don’t have any sponsors so can’t train full-time yet. And even if don’t get the sponsorship support I need, I’ll run on the streets, run up hills and do whatever I need to do to get myself into the shape of my life to win.

‘Nobody works harder than I do, so I wish Danny’s camp all the best in getting him ready. Because somebody’s going to lose, and it’s not going to be me.’

For details and ticket information, tweet Michael on @chunkyluton.