Edinburgh’s Stephen Simmons says he will realise his dream when he fights current champion Matty Askin in his hometown for the British cruiserweight title at Meadowbank on Friday, October 6.
The former WBC International Silver champion tops the bill for MTK Scotland’s Capital Collision line-up alongside compatriot Gary Cornish of Inverness, who is also vying for the Lonsdale Belt in the heavyweight division as he is up against Norwich’s Sam Sexton.
It is a packed show, with further Edinburgh-based boxers Lewis Benson, Stephen Tiffney and Thomas Dickson also featuring for what promises to be an engrossing evening of championship boxing. The event will also be broadcast exclusively live on BoxNation.
But Simmons, who turned 33 earlier this month, has always held out hope he would be given the opportunity to win a major title in front of a partisan home crowd before he retires. He now has that chance in little more than six weeks’ time.
“I feel absolutely amazing and a massive thanks has to go to my promoters MTK Global for making this happen in my city,” Simmons said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s going to be an incredible and unbelievable night with tickets sales flying through the roof already. I’ve been in this game a long time so I’ve got a lot of experience. I’m in beast mode in the gym just now to ensure you see the best Stephen Simmons on the night.
“I’m looking to win this title and then I’ll want to move on to something else. My main goal is still to win a world title so this is the opportunity I have been waiting for. I’d also be the first Scottish boxer to win the British at cruiserweight. I want to make history and I’m sure my team will be behind me all the way.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Matty to come up here and defend his title as he could have gone down a lot of easier routes.”
Simmons fell agonisingly short of landing what would have been his biggest achievement since joining the paid ranks six years ago when he lost on a split decision to Germany’s Noel Gevor in a WBO International title bout in Hamburg ten months ago – a decision he remains perplexed by.
“I should have been the WBO International champion, but it wasn’t to be,” he said. “I was absolutely robbed on a split decision so I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again by finishing this one inside the distance. It just makes me hungrier to be honest. Askin is a really good fighter but there’s no chance I’m leaving it down to the judges again. I’ll be making sure the title stays in Edinburgh.”
His opponent, 28-year-old Askin from Blackpool, has experienced defeat just three times from 26 bouts in his pro career and insists he is coming to make the most of his long weekend in the Capital.
“I wanted to come up to fight in Edinburgh as it’s a beautiful city. I’m making it a full weekend with the family and staying here until Monday so we can explore the city afterwards. I wouldn’t be doing that if I thought there was any possibility I could lose!” the Englishman quipped.
“I’ve fought the best throughout my whole career and my record proves that. I’ve chosen to fight Stephen as he’s second in Britain in the rankings so this was my decision. I know he’s a very good boxer but he’s not the biggest puncher. His speed isn’t as quick as mine but his will and determination and the way he fights ... I know I’m going to have to be super fit. There are pros and cons of every fight and come fight night we’ll both be looking to exploit each other’s weaknesses.
“I’ve fought and sparred all over the world so that doesn’t bother me. A fight’s a fight at the end of the day and I’m sure there will be a lot of Scottish fans out in force.”