LAWRENCE Bennett believes that Chris Keane has made a mistake in targeting him for a quick route back to the top of the domestic tree.
The 31-year-old from Swindon is set to collide with the big punching West Midlander on Keith Mayo’s June 7 show at the Oasis Leisure Centre in a British cruiserweight title eliminator.
And Bennett, who will be fighting for only the seventh time in his professional career, is confident that he will be able to move a step closer to his goal of becoming British champion.
“When I turned professional I said I was going to become the Southern Area champion - I did that in my sixth fight,” he said. “Then I wanted to go after the English title and then the British.
“I know that all this has come quicker than expected, but it is an opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down.
“They (Keane’s team) have made a mistake, they think I’m an easy option, but so did Jack Morris’ people and I went to his backyard and beat him to win the Southern Area title.”
Bad Boy knows the enormity of the task that lies ahead of him; Keane stopped former British champion Shane McPhilbin in three rounds to win the Midlands Area crown and his only defeat came against Neil Dawson when he went for the WBO International strap.
But Keane is no stranger to Bennett, with the Swindon fighter having spent time sparring with the 27-year-old.
“I’ve been offered Chrissy Keane in the past,” the Southern Area champion said. “But I was just starting out and I felt that I needed to get some fights under me.
“We’ve sparred in the past as well, it went OK, he struggled to get used to my style and couldn’t really get going.”
Despite Keane’s pedigree, he is also a former ABA champion, Bennett insists that he had no qualms in taking this fight.
“It’s a massive risk for me,” he said. “He won the ABAs and he is a big puncher.
“But there was never any doubt that I was going to accept this fight, opportunities like this don’t come around every often so you have to grab it.
“I’ve been working so hard in the gym, I’ve improved so much since I won the Southern Area.
“They said that I got lucky against Jack Morris and if I win this fight, they’ll say that I got lucky again.
“Sooner or later they are going to have to realise it is not luck, it is my ability.”
While the fight has been verbally agreed with the British Boxing Board of Control, Bennett’s manager Mayo is still waiting for it to be ratified.
“The full board are meeting on Wednesday and that is when we expect to get it confirmed,” Mayo said.
“They have verbally agreed to it so I don’t see any problems with it being formally given the go ahead next week.”
Bennett’s clash with Keane is the chief support to Kelvin Young’s first defence of his IBO inter-continental super-middleweight title.
Also featuring on the June 7 card is former Walcot and England amateur Ryan Martin and Swindon-based super-middleweight Tariq Quaddus.
Tickets are priced £1,000 for a ringside table for 10 people with a three-course meal, £850 for table of 10 in row two, again with the meal included, £60 for ringside seats and £35 unreserved. For more information visit www.kmpromotions.co.uk