Haskins Defends IBF Belt – IBF World bantamweight champion Lee Haskins (32-3) defends his title this Saturday night at Cardiff’s Ice Arena as he faces Mexico’s Ivan Morales (29-1).
For Haskins, the fight represents a golden opportunity to validate his belt and status as a champion. In June of 2015 Haskins won an “interim” piece of the belt, and a subsequent match-up scheduled for November with full champion Randy Caballero fell through when Caballero could not make the 118 lb bantamweight limit. With Caballero coming in more than five pounds heavy and the fighter not attempting to cut the weight, the IBF stripped Caballero and elevated Haskins to the title without a single punch being thrown.
In a piece by Boxing News Online’s Matt Christie, Haskin’s manager Jamie Sanigar stated “I told him the fight was off but then in the next sentence I’m telling him he’s a world champion. It’s a strange one to process.”
In Morales, Haskins is facing a 24 year old with a lot of experience and pedigree. Aside from an unexpected setback last August when he took a majority decision loss to Edgar Jimenez (19-11-2), Morales has been carefully brought along by his handlers at Golden Boy. Ivan Morales, by the way, is the younger brother of Mexican fighting legend Erik Morales. He has held the WBC’s International title at 115 lbs. and this is his first attempt at a world title and it will also be his first fight where he must deal with a time change.
For Haskins, the fight with Caballero was to have been his debut in Las Vegas and it was supposed to come on the undercard of the big Miguel Cotto vs Saul “Canelo” Alvarez pay-per-view fight, so the fight cancellation was a real letdown. Going home with the belt was definitely bittersweet.
The fight sits atop a nine fight boxing card co-promoted by Chris Sanigar and Blain McGuigan at Cardiff’s Ice Arena and the featured bouts are set to air on Channel 5 in the U.K.. The complete card as it stands today appears below.
May 14th, 2016 – Ice Arena
(Card Subject To Change):
Bantamweight 12 RD: Lee Haskins vs Ivan Morales
Cruiserweight: 12 RD: Craig Kennedy vs Joel Tanbwe Kjeko
Flyweight 12 RD: Andrew Selby vs Louis Norman
Welterweight 10 RD: Tony Dixon vs Paddy Gallagher
Super light 6 RD: Josh Taylor vs TBA
Middleweight: Conrad Cummings vs Frankie Borg
Light Heavyweight: Morgan Jones vs Eric Mokonzo
Light Heavyweight: Nathan Thorley vs Anthony Trow
Super Lightweight: Mitch Buckland vs TBA