Bristol bantamweight Lee Haskins will fight an eliminator contest on the Stuart Hall-Paul Butler undercard for Hall’s IBF title.
Haskins will take on Sergio Parales, an American with a 24-2 record and a previous dance partner of Hall.
The winner of that bout will be in line to face Hall, Butler or Randy Caballero, the American mandated to fight the winner of Hall-Butler.
Chris Sanigar, the manager of Haskins, believes his charge belongs at world level: “All three of them [Hall, Butler, Caballero] are very good boxers and it would be tough against all of them. But if our man is on song then I would pick Haskins to beat all three of them in very highly-contested fights.
“They’ll be close and any one of them would be a great fight, but I see our man edging it.”
A former Commonwealth, British and European champion, Haskins has sat restlessly on the side lines as Hall carves out a career as world champion. Hall captured the title against Vusi Malinga and defended against Martin Ward last time out, keeping his belt by way of a technical draw.
If past form is anything to go by, it should be Haskins who holds the world title.
The 30-year-old defeated Hall for the vacant European title back in July 2012, while he also has a knockout victory over Martin Ward on his ledger.
More pertinently he holds a win over ex-IBF champion Jamie McDonnell, though that was an eight round decision triumph way back in 2008. McDonnell, now under the tutelage of Eddie Hearn at Matchroom Sports, will fight for the WBA regular title on the undercard of Carl Froch-George Groves II in front of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium.
Perales represents a stern test of credentials for the Bristol-based fighter. The American has 16 knockouts from his 24 wins, with 12 of those coming inside the first four rounds, though Haskins is a much more experienced campaigner, having boxed 183 rounds compared to the Texan’s 119.
On his last visit to the UK, Perales dropped a close decision loss to Hall.
Haskins will surely be gunning for revenge over his domestic rivals, but whoever comes out victorious in the IBF title clash on June 7 must first negotiate Caballero.
The unbeaten American was announced as mandatory challenger before Hall fought Ward, a ruling which became active the moment that fight finished. Dennis Hobson, Hall’s promoter, applied to the IBF to gain an exemption allowing another interim defence; though initially rejected, approval has now been gained to stage the Butler fight.
Either way, Haskins’ potential route to the top is now mapped out.
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