By Jonathan Nagioff
Bournemouth boxer Joe Hayes looks to win his first professional title at the o2 Academy tonight, in what will be the biggest fight of his career to date.
The unbeaten welterweight is rapidly making a name for himself amongst local boxing fans and will take on Mario Petros for the British Challenge title belt.
Hayes, 33, has made almost the perfect start to his professional boxing career with six wins and one draw from his opening seven bouts including a comfortable points victory at London’s famous York Hall venue last time out, where the likes of Carl Froch, David Haye and Anthony Joshua have all graced the hallowed ring.
Yet, there is no rest for Hayes who is set to fight for the first recognised belt of his career and in doing so brings the first title bout to Bournemouth for many years.
Hayes told the Bournemouth Rock: “He comes to win. It’s going to be a tough fight. I’ve pushed for it, I’ve pushed to be moved on quick. I train hard enough, I live the life, I believe I am capable.”
Victory for Hayes would put him in a very competitive position in the welterweight division with a Southern Area title shot looming on the horizon and possible fights at English and British level not far in the offing, but Hayes is certainly not looking too far ahead.
“I’m not looking beyond my next fight. It’s a step up in class and opponent for me. I’m thinking of the British challenge belt.
“I can put it in my mantel piece, when that happens I can look at the next level which will be a Southern Area.”
Hayes’ promoter remains in talks with the governing body, the British Boxing Board of Control, about a possible future Southern Area title fight with the belt set to be made vacant providing the current holder, John O’Donnell, claims the English title in May. This sudden title talk is only testament to Hayes who dedicates his life to the sport.
“We’re all pushing hard to put professional boxing on the map in Bournemouth.
“I train 6 days a week, I don’t really have breaks I’m constantly in the gym.
“I need to be more confident in my fitness. I’m a lot fitter than what I think I am.”
Despite his own hard work, Hayes is also supported by several sponsors including, WH Carpentry, N Farmer construction building services and Yeah Man Caribbean Kitchen located in the triangle in Bournemouth which is instrumental in providing Hayes’ nutrition, an essential part of any boxer’s success.
Tickets for the fight tonight, which will be at the o2 academy in Boscombe, can be purchased directly from Joe Hayes at 07969722768.