I shouldn't have to defend my title overseas, insists Lee Haskins
LEE Haskins feels hard done by at having to defend his European Boxing Union bantamweight title overseas.
Having won the vacant crown by defeating Stuart Hall at Clevedon in July, the Bristolian had hoped to make his first defence in front of his hometown fans.
But not only has the 28-year-old former British and Commonwealth flyweight champion been denied home advantage, he is now being forced to put his belt and reputation on the line against mandatory challenger Stephane Jamoye in the Belgian's own Liege backyard a week on Friday.
A date and venue could not be found on the domestic calendar, despite Bristol promoter Chris Sanigar winning the purse bids, and Haskins must again do things the hard way.
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"I'm fed up with always having to travel and fight away from home," said the Lockleaze-based southpaw.
"I've won a major title and I'm a British sporting champion, yet I cannot defend the title in my own country.
"I understand the problem with venues in Bristol – it has always been the same old story here – but I cannot understand not being given the opportunity to make my first defence somewhere in England.
"At least that would have given my supporters the chance to come and watch me. I doubt too many are going to be able to afford the trip to Belgium just before Christmas.
"I'm disappointed in the boxing managers in this country and I'm disappointed in the TV companies. I really do believe more could have been done to look after a successful British boxer.
"This is no way to reward me for winning the title last summer. Jamoye is only the challenger and gets to fight at home and, because I'm having to travel, I won't earn any more than I did when beating Stuart Hall. But that's the way it is and I'm just going to have to accept it and get on with it."
Since he last fought in Bristol in 2007, Haskins has taken to the road to win a series of championship belts, successes that have taken him to within touching distance of a world title shot.
And he has no intention of allowing Jamoye to block his progress now that he is so close to the top level.
Jamoye's only three defeats have all come outside of Belgium and the 23-year-old has yet to lose in 20 fights staged in his home town.
Haskins remains unimpressed and he said: "All records are there to be ended and I'll end this one.
"It doesn't matter that I've got to do it the hard way and fight in his own backyard. I've been in this position plenty of times in my career and I've always overcome all the obstacles put in my way.
"I'm frustrated at having to go to Belgium and I'll take that frustration out on Jamoye on the night."