JAMIE Speight said he is expecting his opponent to come out swinging when he bids to land the WBU world super bantamweight title next month.
Ghanaian opponent Michael Barnor gave a revealing interview with an African sports website hitting out at social media comments by Speight.
Barnor also said it was the ‘chance I’ve been praying for all my life’, and that he was determined to win.
While the comments were nothing unusual in the run up to a big fight, Speight said it indicated his opponent would not be holding back when they meet at the Bournemouth International Centre on Saturday, March 15.
Speight said: “He’s calling it his ‘date with destiny’ and say that he’s going to take the title back to Ghana with him – he said he’s going to fill me in basically.
“You’ve got to expect him to say that – he’s coming from a poor background and will be coming over to really make something of himself.
“I expect him to come forward and to really have a go.”
Speight has been sparring with left-handers after learning more about his African opponent, with sessions in Leeds against James ‘Jazza’ Dickens and Martin Ward.
Dickens lost out on his bid to land the British super bantamweight title last September when he was stopped in the 10th round against Kid Galahad.
Ward, meanwhile, is fighting for the IBF bantamweight title against Stuart Hall on March 29.
Both Dickens and Ward box in the Southpaw style and offer Speight the chance to sharpen up his skills ahead of his big fight.
“For me it’s the chance to put my problems behind me and win a WBU world title,” said Speight.
“No stone is being left unturned in my training.
“I know that he’s a Southpaw which is fine because I’ve been sparring with some really good Southpaws.
“I’m sparring with Lee Haskins this week and with Jazza and Martin Ward next week, so I’m going to be ready.”
Speight is also appealing for boxing fans from Devon to get behind him in the same way as Ricky Hatton was able to attract fans from his home city.
Speight is not the only Devon boxer bidding for a world title in Bournemouth, with Torquay’s Gareth Hogg also fighting for the WBU light heavyweight strap, against Ghanaian Ibrahim Labaran.
Speight said that while he is training in Leeds, his home was still in Teignbridge.
“It’s just for training that I’m away, but I still live in Newton Abbot,” he said.
“It’s just nice to have everyone behind you and the support of people from where you live.
“Ricky Hatton was brilliant in getting everyone in Manchester to support him. Whether they were Manchester City or Manchester United fans, they all got behind him.
“I’m hoping that it will be the same for me in Devon: whether you support Exeter or Torquay or Plymouth it would be nice for people to support me.”
Buy tickets for the clash at jamiespeight.eventbrite.co.uk or garethhogg.eventbrite.co.uk.