London - Hull’s Joel Haigh “ready and raring to go” as he meets Paul Haines on the James DeGale vs. Fulgencio Zúńiga undercard on Saturday.
The contest will be only the second time Joel has fought in front of his hometown crowd and he is relishing the opportunity to do so on such a big stage this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to the whole experience; the atmosphere, TV camera’s; it’s a dream come true,” said Joel.
“Being on the same card as DeGale really motivates me; he’s somebody who you look up to, somebody I’ve watched since he’s been in the Olympics and with it being in Hull in front of my own supporters really means a lot.
“It will only be my second fight in Hull, so I’m ready and raring to go; I’ve definitely put the training in.
“I’ve had some excellent sparring, I’ve been sparring with Jamie McDonnell and his brother Gavin in Stefy Bull’s gym in Doncaster.
“Then I’ve been sparring with Kevin Hooper, the Midlands Area champion (BBBofC Midlands Area lightweight title holder), so I’ve learned a lot and been with some really good lads.
“I’ve sold a lot of tickets and people are still asking me about them, so I have a really good following and with it being in Hull I’m really looking forward to it.”
Joel boasts a perfect record with five straight wins since his professional debut in 2011.
But, the 22-year-old light welterweight known as ‘Gentleman’ isn’t getting carried away and realises he cannot afford to underestimate his opponent Paul Haines, 27 or the nerves of the big stage.
“He’s a game man, he’s just starting out so he’ll be after my undefeated record; it will be a good fight, a good crowd pleaser but I want it more,” said Joel.
“Obviously nerves will play a part, so trying to settle them and see how I cope will be a really good experience for me.
Joel features on the James DeGale undercard at the Sports Arena, Hull on Saturday night.
The Hennessy Sports show also features unbeaten super-bantamweight prospect Kid Galahad and unbeaten middleweight prospect Chris Eubank Jr on Channel 5 from 10.00pm.