Sparring partner tips Lee Haskins to land European title
MICHAEL Ramabeletsa is convinced Lee Haskins is about to become Bristol's first European boxing champion.
The former British and Commonwealth super flyweight boss will make his long-awaited bid for continental domination when he meets Darlington's Stuart Hall to contest the vacant EBU bantamweight title on a Hennessey Sports/Sanigar Events promotion at the Hand Arena in Clevedon on Saturday, July 7.
And Ramabeletsa knows where the smart money should go after going toe-to-toe with Haskins at Chris Sanigar's Bristol Boxing Gym.
Drafted in as a sparring partner for Haskins, the South African insists the 29-year-old Lockleaze fighter will be too strong for former domestic 8st 7Ib king Hall.
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"He is the best I've ever been in with," said Ramabeletsa.
"I'm an experienced guy – I'm 29 and have been in with a lot of good fighters. But I've never seen anyone quite like Lee.
"He is a southpaw and he is lightning quick. He is incredibly hard to hit and he just makes you look bad all the time.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone as awkward as he is and I feel sorry for Stuart Hall.
"As well as being really sharp, Lee also has serious power and I can see him winning this fight by knockout. I wouldn't want to be in Hall's shoes, that's for sure."
Now based in Bristol, Ramabeletsa is eager to introduce himself to a 2,500-strong West Country audience and show fight fans in the region what he is about when he appears on the Hand Arena undercard.
Forced to fight on the road for most of his career, the Soweto-born bantamweight has won seven and lost eight of his 15 paid outings. All but one of those successes came in his native South Africa, since when Ramabeletsa has found the going tough in the UK.
However, a fifth-round stoppage victory over English champion Ross Burkinshaw last time out suggests he has genuine ability.
"I'm looking forward to showing people what I can do and what I am all about," said Ramabeletsa.
"It's great to have such a big show with Channel 5 TV coverage so close to Bristol and I aim to take this chance with both hands."