Stephen Simmons: Title fight offer came too early

Stephen Simmons fights tonight in Glasgow
Stephen Simmons fights tonight in Glasgow
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Cruiserweight boxer Stephen Simmons has revealed he declined a shot at the IBF inter-continental title next month because he doesn’t feel ready to fight 12 rounds.

The 31-year-old was offered the opportunity to box undefeated Latvian, Mairis Briedis, in Riga on February 21 but says he wouldn’t do himself justice in a fight where the stakes are so high.

Simmons is preparing for tonight’s bout with Lithuania’s Remigijus Ziausys in Glasgow as he tops the bill for MGM Scotland’s Burns Supper show at the Crowne Plaza. Edinburgh boxers Stephen Tiffney and Thomas Dickson are also on the card.

However, 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Simmons is hopeful he will have a crack at another title when MGM return to Meadowbank on Saturday, March 12.

“The offer to go over to Latvia came too quickly, to be honest,” Simmons said. “I’d never be ready for a twelve-rounder. The boy’s undefeated as well so I’d need to have a couple of more weeks under my belt to be ready for that one. It’s just come at a bad time but if I get offered it again after March then I’ll be ready for it.

“My opponent tonight has only ever been stopped twice but it will just be a warm-up for March. I can’t have any upsets but I’m wanting that title fight in my home city on March 12. It’s not been confirmed yet but I’m certainly hoping that will be the case. We’re just seeing what’s available.”

Meanwhile, featherweight Tiffney is confident he will secure his third victory in the paid ranks when he fights Stockport’s Jamie Quinn.

The 27-year-old is in pristine condition having recently sparred with current IBF world super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton.

“I’m in really good shape so I’m looking forward to tonight,” Tiffney said. “Training with Carl has been the perfect preparation so I’m ready to go. It’s all about getting another win under my belt.”

Lightweight Dickson, 26, who made his pro debut at Meadowbank last month with victory over Kristian Laight, faces Dunfermline’s Michael Stupart.