IT’S still on, of course it is. I never thought it would be anything else to be honest. Once I’d had a word with Mick Marsden, my trainer, and he’d told me Dennis Hobson reckoned the fight was still on then that was that. I never thought differently.
My phone was going non-stop last week when there were suggestions from America that the IBF had rejected our request to make a voluntary defence of my belt against Paul Butler rather than face mandatory challenger Randy Caballero, the young Californian.
I’d have been frustrated had I been in Caballero’s shoes to be honest. I won’t lie. But once we had spoken to him to let him know that he will fight me once I have defended my title against Butler then he was happier with that.
Loading article content
The fight with Butler is a great fight for British boxing. It has created a lot of interest already and I can’t wait to just get in the ring and show him why I’m world champion.
Rules are rules in boxing and if the IBF didn’t want it to happen then it wouldn’t have happened so Caballero has helped there by backing down. We are trying to squeeze in this voluntary before I fight my mandatory, which would be Caballero.
Before I can start to think about that, though, I have a job to do on June 7. I wasn’t too impressed with the Japanese boxer Kohei Oba, so Caballero will have a much harder fight on his hands next time. Butler will see why.
Butler has been saying this and that to try to annoy me, but it doesn’t matter. Nothing is going to affect me building up to this fight. I’m passed caring. It just shows the mentality of them, when they should be focusing on themselves. Talk is cheap.
I was driving along the other day and I heard an interview I had done on BBC Tees. They introduced me as the IBF world bantamweight champion. How good does that sound?
It is easy to forget when you get on with your daily routine, but when you hear little things like that it comes back to remind you. It’s been fantastic to be the world champion and I won’t be giving it up next month.
To have a world champion from the North-East has been great for boxing in this region and the show itself should be special again, with Jon-Lewis Dickinson, Kirk Goodings and Bradley Saunders all fighting for titles on a great North-East-based undercard.
I’m at the top of that and I will not disappoint. Johnny Harrison, my fitness coach, is the man responsible for my preparations and yesterday, after my gym work in Leeds with Mick, I went to Eastbourne to put some work in on the track.
It’s all sprints based at the minute, building things up, and I feel in absolutely prime condition. I can’t wait to get in that ring with Paul Butler and walk out again with my belt around my waist.