Lenny Daws Q&A ahead of European title fight against Anthony Yigit
By Ian Aldous: On Saturday 11th February, Lenny Daws (30-4-2) will make a third attempt to finally claim the vacant European Super-Lightweight title against the undefeated Swede, Anthony Yigit (18-0-1). Previously unsuccessful attempts involving a questionable decision and harsh disqualification have driven Daws on to ensure this will be the third time lucky for himself. Last week I spoke with him over the phone to discuss the fight and those previous European title challenges.
IA: So, first off I’ll start with the obvious question of how much you know about your opponent. Have you seen much footage of him?
LD: There’s quite a bit of him on youtube. We’ve studied quite a bit of him. We know he’s game and he’s gonna come and have a good go, he’s hungry. We’re looking for an exciting fight.
IA: Is he potentially a tougher assignment for you than Michele Di Rocco (UD loss) or Ruben Nieto (DQ loss) were?
LD: Possibly, he’ s higher ranked than what they were.
IA: I think I’m right in saying he’s lived and trained in London for a while now. Have you seen or heard much of him?
LD: I haven’t and we was told that (he lives in London). Don’t know if he trains at St. Pancras or something like that and he says he’s got a bit of a fan base over here in London. Good luck to him, you know what I mean? Let’s get it on and may the best man win.
IA: This fight was originally scheduled for December, what was going through your mind when you knew you had to pull out with your back injury?
LD: I was in bits for days, you know, thinking I was in tip-top condition. Then the last few sessions I just wasn’t quite right and it (back) just went, I was devastated. We had a chat with Mick (Hennessy, Lenny’s promoter) and he said ‘don’t panic, it’ll just be postponed, it’ll happen again’. I was thinking that maybe someone else might get a look in. But the back’s fine now, back in training and really looking forward to this now. It’s been a long time waiting and I can’t wait for February now.
IA: Last time out we remember you faced Ruben Nieto for this very European title. The fight ended in a disqualification defeat for you, now you’ve had time to reflect on it, what goes through your mind when you think about it?
LD: I really, really wanted the rematch with him to set the record straight. I could feel I was just getting to him in that fight. Mick had him coming back over (for a rematch) and it was postponed again and Mick lost TV and it just got hung out. They was allowed to defend and we were still mandatory challenger. Mick put on him again that ‘you’ve got to defend against Daws’ and they just let the title go (Nieto vacated). The decision we got, I felt it shouldn’t have been that, I feel it should have been a no-contest or if they’d took the points off me it would have gone as a draw and we would’ve had to done it again anyway. He tries to go another route and comes unstuck and had to retire. I thought that I might meet him later down the line but it’s not meant to be now. We was banging heads all night. He was a come forward fighter and I threw a right hand, he pulled me into him and it was the back of my head that clashed with the front of his head, and the ref said it was the front of my head that done it! You look at the photographs that we used to appeal against (the decision) but it just got swept under the carpet. It was so frustrating and I just wanted to set the record straight.
IA: Pretty much everyone apart from the referee saw it as a clash of heads, yet he saw it as an intentional headbutt and disqualified you. I can only assume you guys have asked for a different referee this time?
LD: Well, I’m not too sure what ref we have yet. We don’t really want him judging or reffing if we can get him pushed aside we’ll try and get him pushed aside. The EBU may not allow him because of the circumstances that happened. We’ve just gotta sit tight and see who we’re given really. The EBU said that the ref done the job to the best of his ability, everyone see it the other way, there was blood everywhere and he panicked.
IA: You’ve been out of the ring for fourteen months now. Do you think a lot of people avoid you? Like you said, all of a sudden Nieto vacated the European title. Is that because he didn’t want to fight you, do you think?
LD: I’ve said to Mick, if you look at my record, there aren’t many people that have got back in with me. Early on with the journeymen obviously you have to, they’re only four and six-rounders and they get through it. But the fight (rematch) was made with Di Rocco again and they said they beat me easy (in their first and only fight) and then he let the title go. They know it’s a hard night’s work and they don’t fancy it. Hopefully everything goes well in February, we pick it up and we move on to where we should be. A couple of European defences or it can even get us a shot at a world title. You never know what’s available, people vacating, a lot of them are jumping up and down weights, so you just never know.
IA: With the guys avoiding you, do you think in some way that’s showing you respect and it’s a bit of a back-handed compliment that these guys don’t want to fight you again?
LD: Course it is. Di Rocco has been on the world stage and I’m thinking ‘that could be me’. It can happen. I’ve just gotta keep going and it’s up to Mick Hennessy to pull it out of the bag, but I want the opportunity sooner rather than later, as you get older you slow up. My fitness is still there, I’ve still got that engine. I’ve just gotta keep pushing on and get through Yigit as best as we can and we just see what happens after that.
IA: Before you fought Nieto, we spoke about your fitness levels being something that would get you the win that night. Do you feel it could also be a deciding factor against Yigit on February 11th?
LD: That’s right. I don’t think he’s ever done a twelve-rounder. I’m a long rounds fighter, a championship fighter and I do my best in the later part. It ain’t nice being there but if you gotta you gotta and I’m prepared to go the distance. I’m prepared for the twelve rounds at a good pace, we’ll see what he’s got. I’ve seen a lot of his fights, round eight he looks like he’s blowing a little bit. I’m sure he’s gonna be fit with a good camp, may the best man win.
Hennessy Sports proudly presents: Lenny Daws vs. Anthony Yigit on Saturday February 11th at the Westcroft leisure centre in Carshalton, South London, for the European Super-Lightweight Championship.
Members of the public who have purchased tickets that have the original date of Saturday 17th December printed on them are advised that they will REMAIN VALID for the new date and can be handed in for entry to the venue on the day.
Tickets, priced at £40 and £100 can be purchased through Ticketmaster online at: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/35005172B612815C or by phone on 0844 844 0444
Doors will open at 5.30pm, first fight is at 6pm. The last entry time for the public is 8pm.
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