Edinburgh boxer Stephen Tiffney’s previous trip to Dubai was one where he and wife Amie binged on all the finer things the popular sun-kissed city has to offer.
This week’s 5,000-mile venture to the United Arab Emirates, however, couldn’t be more different for the 30-year-old.
The ultra-modern architecture, luxury shopping outlets and haute cuisine will have to take a back seat – for Tiffney at least – as he bids to become the new WBO European featherweight champion.
The MTK Global fighter faces Ireland’s undefeated David Oliver Joyce at the Emirates Golf Club tomorrow night in what promises to be the toughest 12 rounds of his career.
The duo were scheduled to step into the ring in Manchester three weeks ago, but a number of call-offs forced a postponement.
However, Tiffney believes that additional time to prepare will see him touch down at Glasgow Airport late on Saturday night having secured the first title of his career.
“It’s going to be such a different vibe this time from last year. Amie and I had four or five nights in Dubai last June before we went off to Bali and we had a great time. It was a bit too hot for me, but we enjoyed it,” Tiffney explained.
“I didn’t think for one second I’d be here again so soon and this time preparing for a European title fight. It’s something different so I’m looking forward to it. There will be none of these hotel buffets or anything like that this time. There’s no nice shirts or trousers that have been packed this time, just all my boxing gear. Amie’s coming out with me though, so I’m sure she’ll enjoy herself.
“This is MTK’s first show over in Dubai and ESPN are covering it so it’s a big one to be involved in. It was a shock when I was told the fight would be over there, but you have to deal with these things. It’s just a ring at the end of the day.
“I’ve had a couple of extra weeks to get some more training in after the Manchester show was pulled, so I think that has really helped me. I feel more ready for the fight than maybe I was so I’ve used it to my advantage.
“It’s a huge fight for me. I know how big a night this is for me but I’ve put the work in. The camps get harder as the opponents get better. I’m confident because it’s such a big opportunity.”
Having clocked up ten wins since turning pro in 2015, Tiffney’s only blemish on his record is defeat to compatriot Lewis Paulin in December 2017. This will the first time the former Lochend amateur has fought outwith Scotland but, he insists, is a challenge he relishes.
“I know he [Joyce] was a world-class amateur and he’s obviously unbeaten as a pro. He’s the favourite and they’re expecting him to go on and do big things,” Tiffney said. “We’re quite similar in the way we fight. But we’ve worked on quite a few things that we think can get the better of him. I think you can too often get caught up on worrying about your opponent. I just need to focus on myself and my strengths.
“I know what needs to be done. Becoming European champion is obviously a big incentive, but I’m solely focused on winning the fight as I know the doors it can open. A win will put me in the top 15 in the world in the WBO.
“I’m 30 now so this is the one that I’ve been working towards for a few years. If I want something to happen for me in terms of my boxing then this is where it needs to take off.”