Watch: I'm jealous of Belfast boxing fans, says world champion Lee Haskins
As he prepares to fight Belfast Boy Ryan Burnett, the title holder is envious of his challenger's support
Even though he knows the SSE Arena boxing fans are going to give him a hard time, title holder Lee Haskins has heaped praise on Northern Ireland's boxing support ahead of his fight on Saturday night.
Bristol boxer Haskins is preparing to take on challenger Ryan Burnett in his opponent's home city and, a self confessed Carl Frampton enthusiast, the IBF Bantamweight world champion knows exactly what sort of reception awaits him.
He said: "I know they're going to give me s**t on Saturday night but I'm a big fan of Frampton. He's one of my favourite fighters. I watch his fights and how he sells out. The crowd that support him are absolutely amazing. They're probably the best fans in the world.
"It's something I'm a little bit jealous of. I'd love to have that base. Even though they're going to be giving me a load of rubbish, I'm looking forward to hearing it and looking forward to enjoying the night. They want a world champion, I am world champion but when it comes down to it, this is a sport, we've got to do our job, one of us is going to have our hands up at the end of the night and I'm confident it's going to be me."
Haskins has held the title for over two years, knocking out previous champion Ryosuke Iwasa in the sixth round before twice defending his title against Ivan Morales and Stuart Hall.
"I cannot wait, I'm telling you, I cannot wait to get in there on Saturday night. I'm like a kid at Christmas," he enthused.
"I've done it before. All the work's done. I've fought all types of fighters. I'm just ready to get in there now and see how this one plays out."
While Haskins did warn the Belfast crowd to expect to see a "dominating performance" from the current belt holder, he did talk up his opponent Burnett, who at 25 is eight years Haskins' junior.
"He's a very good fighter," said Haskins. "I've watched him coming up. He's got good skill and good technical movement. He's one people are looking up to to be the next Frampton. Who knows? We're going to see on Saturday night if he can step up to the mark. If he does it, I'll take my hat off to him but I'm ready for everything and I just can't wait."
Tickets for the fight are available via Ticketmaster.
Belfast Telegraph Digital