Bristol's Lee Haskins to fight for British bantamweight title
Bristol's Lee Haskins has been handed an immediate opportunity to return to Championship status.
Arguably the city's most successful boxer since Glenn Catley, the Lockleaze-based southpaw will meet Martin Ward for the vacant British bantamweight title later this year.
The fight has gone out to purse bids, which are due in by February 13, and must take place before the end of April.
And Bristol promoter Chris Sanigar is confident he can stage the match-up in the West Country.
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It offers Haskins a quicker-than-expected opportunity to bounce back from last month's eighth round stoppage defeat at the hands of Belgium's Stephane Jamoye, who wrenched the European title from the Bristolian's grasp in Liege on December 14.
Bristol Boxing Gym spokesman Jamie Sanigar said: "This is great news for Lee and just what he needed after losing the European title.
"It keeps him busy and gives him a chance to get back to championship level.
"If he beats Ward, it will open doors for him and put him in line for a re-match with Jamoye later this year.
"I've spoken to Lee about it and he is delighted to be back in title contention so soon."
Southpaw Ward has lost only once in 16 paid outings and boasts a win over former British bantamweight boss Ian Knappa.
But the Londoner was past his best by then and Ward will go in against the more experienced Haskins as an underdog.
Haskins failed to win the British bantamweight title when losing to Knappa at the York Hall in Bethnal Green in 2007.
He has since won the British and Commonwealth super-flyweight crowns and recently moved back up to bantamweight to claim the European championship.
The British bantamweight title was recently vacated by Yorkshire's Jamie McDonnell, who is hoping to land a world title fight this year.