Reigning British welterweight king Bradley Skeete may boast a black belt in awkwardness but challenger Shayne Singleton claims that he’s seen it all before, writes Glynn Evans.
Last time out, the stylist from Colne, Lancashire mastered impossibly unconventional Leeds contender Adil Anwar, dropping him twice, slicing him in round six before forcing the referee to terminate in round eight.
That mint performance at the Manchester Arena in May earned the 27 year old the vacant WBC International Silver strap and, more significantly, the right to confront master craftsman Skeete for the domestic title at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on October 22nd.
‘Just like Anwar, Skeete’s very awkward and bounces around….but the outcome is gonna be exactly the same,’ predicts skilful Shayne, who has won 23 of 24, with eight stoppages.
‘Usually I prefer fighters coming on to me but the Anwar fight proved I can adapt and showed my power’s improving.
‘Winning a British title would mean everything to me. After winning the Masters, the English and WBC (International) Silver, this is my world title. I couldn’t give two monkeys about anything that happens thereafter.
‘I’m really looking forward to coming to Cardiff. Staying away for a few nights will be something different and, though it’s a far away from Colne, I’m expecting to bring a good 150-200 fans with me.’
Since debuting in August 2009, the Karl Ince coached contender has made steady progress beneath the TV radar, featuring predominantly on manager-promoter Steve Wood’s small hall productions in his native north-west.
And speedy Shayne insists that he has improved immeasurably since suffering the solitary stain on his slate 18 months ago – a fifth round stoppage defeat to future British and Commonwealth king Sam Eggington at Hull’s Ice Arena.
‘It’s definitely my time now,’ insists Singleton who is indebted to sponsors Nightfox, BounceBack Safety Surfaces, AJ Wood Ltd and Wellock for their support in allowing him to pursue his dreams full-time.
‘I actually thought it was ‘my time’ 18 months back but lost my head and came a cropper with Eggington. I did the weight all wrong and didn’t have the mental control back then. Whenever he caught me, I wanted to hit him back ten times harder immediately. Since then, I’ve developed my ‘man strength’ and I think about things more.
‘I’ve come through three 10 rounders, including easily my hardest fight against Curtis Woodhouse to win the English title when nobody gave me a chance. I answered a lot of questions to others and myself that night.’
And the Burnley born boxer will step into the British championship ring boasting almost 20 years seasoning on his CV.
He explains: ‘I first became interested (in boxing) watching the big fights on TV with me Dad. To be honest, I were a bit of a ‘loon’ as a kid—way too much energy—so when I was eight he drove me to the Sandygate amateur gym half an hour away.
‘It was my school teacher’s who first called me ‘Shayne the Pain’! The training tired me out and kept me on track, helped straighten me out.
‘I stayed at Sandygate for over 10 years and won 28 of 35 amateur fights but never got past the north-west stages of the national competitions because I could never get past Ronnie Heffron who was like a grown man, even when we were young teenagers. I always give him a competitive fight, mind.
‘Highlight of my amateur career would be my two wins over (reigning WBO lightweight champion) Terry Flanagan when we were both schoolboys.
‘I was also a very good footballer and had trials for Blackburn and Burnley but decided to focus on the boxing.’
His progression away from the TV glare means that he lands in Cardiff as a largely unknown and unseen commodity to both fans and foe….something he believes will serve to his advantage.
‘I believe I’ve everything a fighter needs to have,’ states ‘The Pain’
‘I come on strong in the later rounds but my biggest strength is probably my boxing ability; slipping and popping off the back foot. I like it most when my opponent’s ‘in my face’. But, being a fiery person, I still like to have a fight and I probably need to lose that.’
Though Singleton harbours a healthy regard for the defending champion, he has profited from 10 week’s notice and is adamant that he’ll not concede to stage fright on what is easily the biggest test of his seven year career.
‘Bradley’s quality. They don’t give British and Commonwealth titles away. The lad’s got everything; fantastic range and he rarely gets hit,’ acknowledges Shayne.
‘But I also see a way of beating him and that’s why I took the fight. Others are expecting a cautious, cagey affair but they’ll be in for a shock. Expect the unexpected!
‘I believe my speed, accuracy and movement will trouble him, big time. I’ll make him answer questions and just believe I’ll be too much for him on the night. I’ll bring too much evilness and craziness!’
Remaining tickets for ‘A Little Less Conversation’ priced at £70, £100 and £150 are available from Motorpoint Arena Cardiff; 029 2022 4488 and www.motorpointarenacardiff.co.uk, Eventim; 0844 249 1000 and www.eventim.co.uk, Ticketmaster; 0844 8440 444 and www.ticketmaster.co.uk
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