Bristol sport history-maker Lee Haskins has set his sights on world domination after conquering Europe.
Haskins became the first boxer from the city to claim a European championship title when comfortably out-scoring Darlington's Stuart Hall to win the vacant EBU bantamweight crown at a packed Hand Arena in Clevedon.
And having succeeded where Glenn Catley so valiantly failed against Germany's Danilo Haussler in 2004, Haskins served notice of his intention to follow in his fellow Bristolian's footsteps by becoming world champion.
Stapleton-born Catley demolished Markus Beyer to win the WBC super-middleweight title 12 years ago and Haskins claims he is now ready to campaign at the elite level after prevailing in emphatic fashion in his 28th career fight.
"I've waited a long time for the chance to become European champion and, now I'm there, I'd like to defend it in Bristol," declared Haskins, who was roared to victory by a partisan 2,500-strong sell-out crowd on a 10-fight Hennessey Sports/Sanigar Events bill.
"But what I really want is a shot at the world title and I'm hoping this win opens doors for me.
"Jamie McDonnell (the former European bantamweight champion from Doncaster) is going to box for a version of the world title and I have already beaten him.
"I've cleaned up in the flyweight division and the super-flyweights and now I want to do the same as a bantamweight.
"If McDonnell loses his world title fight, then I'd happily defend the European against him. I would imagine the winner would then go on and box for a world title."
Undefeated in his last 10 fights and clearly a fighter on the up, Haskins has nothing to prove in Britain and few equals in Europe. Now a seasoned performer, he gave an accomplished display to carve out a unanimous decision, winning 118-111, 117-111, 118-110 on the judges' scorecards.
Slippery and hard to hit, the Bristol southpaw was too quick for former British and Commonwealth boss Hall, who frequently walked onto to swift counters delivered from a bewildering array of angles.
Although Hall had a height and reach advantage, walked forward and appeared the stronger man when landing several hurtful rights, Haskins absorbed his best shots and punished his opponent whenever he sought to open up and apply real pressure.
Haskins was way in front by the time Hall won the seventh round and, by the ninth, all he had to do was stay out of trouble to confirm his superiority.
He said: "The plan was to let him come to me and catch him on his way in. I took a couple of good shots, but he never really troubled me and the plan worked to perfection."
Article created on Monday, 09 July 2012 12:28