LAWRENCE Bennett and Luke Watkins are on course for an almighty collision in a battle of the Swindon cruiserweights.
Although any potential fight would be unlikely to happen for at least eight months, the pair, along with trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick, traded verbals at over the weekend when Bennett arrived at Fitzpatrick’s gym as Watkins showcased his talents at an open workout day ahead of his professional debut next month.
Bad Boy Bennett is ranked 12th in the country - the Southern Area champion and has just won a British title eliminator - but the likelihood of an all-Swindon showdown within the next 12 months is growing by the day.
Watkins, who makes his professional bow on his manager George Groves’ undercard at Wembley Arena on September 20, is confident that the bout with Bennett will happen.
“What can you say, hometown showdown – I’ve said it before,” Watkins said. “When the time is right, it is going to happen.
“Everyone is going to see it. There is no running away from it, it is on my doorstep, it is at my weight. Unless he is going down (the rankings), I ain’t going nowhere.”
But Bennett, who is managed and promoted by Greenbridge’s Keith Mayo, believes that Watkins is not on the same level as him and he would dispose of the 24-year-old within four rounds.
“I’m the cruiserweight in Swindon - there ain’t no other cruiserweight,” the 31-year-old said. “People are talking about me throughout the country, not just in Swindon.
“I’m not sure if the board would sanction it at the moment, but it would be massive - if the board sanction it.
“If Luke gets himself in a position - and I’m sure (he will) with George behind him and a few other people behind him (to) get him going in the right direction - but until then, it is a non-starter for me.
“Anyway, I’d take him out in four rounds. I just beat Chrissy Keane. Chrissy Keane would demolish him, he was a former ABA champion.
“I’m a different level, I’m a different breed. I’m a puzzle - they can’t work me out.
“Look where I am (after seven fights). If he is here in seven fights then we’ll get it on. If not, history will tell its own story.”
Watkins’ trainer Fitzpatrick believes that there is an inevitability of the pair colliding within the next 12 months.
He said: “Lawrence has done good. He has got a Southern Area title, he has just won an eliminator for the British title. I tip my hat to him.
“But now that is where Duke (Watkins) wants to go to. He will have had six (fights) by March and it depends how busy Lawrence is. By this time next year, Duke will have had 10 fights.
“So when you have 10 fights in the cruiserweight division and you are doing good, then you are going to be at each others’ heels.
“In eight to 12 months, it will make sense. They will be around each other.”