Devine ready for unknown quantity

LUTON boxer Michael Devine will have to keep his wits about him when he enters the ring with Lithuanian Vladimiras Balaklijec at York Hall on Saturday, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th October 2011, 3:00 pm

Devine had been preparing to fight Steve Gethin, but that was changed last week and he now finds himself up against something of an unknown quantity, who has three wins and three defeats to his name.

The 22-year-old said: “I’ve got an opponent who’s supposed to be a bit of a knockout puncher.

“I was looking at videos of Steve Gethin and had come up with a gameplan and now this lad comes in.

“I don’t know if he’s a southpaw or an orthodox.

“I know he’s got beaten by undefeated fighters so it’s going to be tough.

“When something like that happens, it’s character building.

“I’ll see how it goes first two rounds and then step it up as the rounds go on.

“I’ve heard that he can knock someone out with just the one punch, so I have to be wary about that.

“I’ll be on my toes and keeping alert as any mistakes, I could get punished.

“Whoever I get in the ring with on Saturday night though, I’ll do the business.

“If I carry on winning, hopefully I can have a title shot in June. I need to make my mark now.”

Training for Saturday’s fight has been going according to plan for Devine too, as he has been in the ring with a variety of opponents.

He continued: “Training’s been spot on, it’s the best camp yet.

“I’ve got some quality sparring in, I’ve been in with English champions, undefeated fighters, the likes of Ryan Barrett who fought Amir Khan and fought for a world title.

“It’s improved my concentration and all my bad habits are starting to go now.”

Devine, whose record is five wins and one defeat, admits there have been areas in which he needed to improve on as he said: “When I’ve been fighting journeymen I’ve been losing concentration and taking my foot off the gas.

“I can get lazy and that’s when the mistakes start coming.

“The more tired I usually get, I start trying to open up and getting a bit wild. In my sparring, the last couple of rounds I was picking my punches without taking too much of a gamble.

“I’m not wasting my shots now, I’ve got a good jab and have started using that.”

The fight is the first time that Devine has gone six rounds, but he is confident he can cope with the extra workload.

He added: “I’m fit enough and I’ve been doing eight rounds straight off and that’s at a fighting pace, where we’re going at it.

“I see no problem why I can’t do that. If I keep the right tempo I’ll fly through six.

“I reckon I can do a 10-rounder now, that’s how fit I am, so six rounds shouldn’t be a problem.”

For tickets contact Devine on 07703 728018.