Askin’s strong words Echo round Liverpool

Matty Askin
Matty Askin
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Matty Askin is in confident mood ahead of Saturday’s English cruiserweight title defence against Simon Barclay, declaring: “I will show everyone that I am a level above him.”

St Annes-basedAskin faces Barclay on a huge night of boxing at the Echo Arena in Liverpool and insists he has left little or nothing to chance in his preparation, both at home and abroad.

He told The Gazette: “I could not have asked for it to have gone any better. I am the best I have been in a long time.

“I was in Denmark for three weeks getting some high-class sparring, including with Micki Neilsen, who is the strongest man I have ever been in the ring with.

“I had my final spar last Friday in England, 10 good rounds, and I knocked the man down.”

Unbeaten Barclay, from Corby, is a substitute opponent after Askin’s scheduled foe Lawrence Bennett pulled out after abnormalities in a brain scan.

Barclay has won all eight bouts as a professional and is a two-time former ABA champion. Askin himself won the ABA cruiserweight title before turning pro.

The 27-year-old said: “I don’t know too much about Barclay but he was a top amateur.

“I regard this as a tougher fight than Bennett, but Barclay is a light puncher and I will show people that I am a level above him.”

Askin says he intends to make a statement to the rest of the cruiserweight ranks on Saturday, when he figures on the undercard of the world lightweight title scrap between Terry Flanagan and challenger Derry Matthews.

Askin will have a considerable body of support in the cavernous arena – in excess of 150 fans.

He said: “I have had a few bumps along the road in my career, but my supporters have stayed loyal and I will always appreciate that.

“You can’t beat good support and it gives me that extra oomph in the ring.”

The weigh-in takes place at the big fight venue tomorrow and Askin expects no trouble on the scales.

And he can’t wait to get in the ring, admitting he may not be the most polite person to be around in the build-up to fight night.

“I’m biting everyone’s head off at the moment,” he said.