John Wayne Hibbert can make huge strides in the world rankings after landing a clash with Andrea Scarpa at The O2 on June 25. Hibbert kicked off 2016 in style by successfully defending his WBC International and Commonwealth titles with a final round KO win over Tommy Martin, and returns to the venue of his three cracking fights last year.
The Essex man defended his WBC strap with a stoppage win in January at The O2 against Tyler Goodjohn, then revisited his rivalry with Dave Ryan on two occasions – losing his belts in May to the Derby man but reversing that stoppage loss in September in two gripping clashes.
Hibbert’s form could not be better timed as he faces Italian champion Scarpa, who made his own impact on the world rankings in his last outing, landing the IBF Inter-Continental title in November to crash into the top ten in the IBF.
Hibbert currently sits in 14th spot in the WBC, but the 31 year old knows that victory on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s first World title defence will see him rise up the rankings and knocking on the door for huge fights in the second half of the year.
“I’m over the moon to have landed this massive fight at The O2,” said Hibbert. “Beating Tommy and Dave in my last two fights means my confidence is sky-high and I’m ready to move on from the domestic scene and make an impact on the Wold stage.
“Scarpa is a tough test and he’ll be thinking along the same lines, but I hope that the sold-out crowd gets right behind me and can roar me onto victory on the biggest night of my career.”
Hibbert’s clash with Scarpa is part of a huge night of action, topped by Joshua’s defence against the unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale, with a mouth-watering Super-Middleweight battle between former World title challengers George Groves and Martin Murray, plus more fights to be added.
Benn back in Glasgow and London
Conor Benn returns to action after an impressive April debut with spots on two title undercards – Ricky Burns’ vacant WBA Super-Lightweight title clash with Michele Di Rocco in May 28 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Anthony Joshua MBE’s IBF World Heavyweight title defence against Dominic Breazeale at The O2 in London on June 25.
Son of British legend Nigel kicked-off his pro career in style when he landed a first round KO on his debut at The O2 on the undercard of Joshua’s World title win earlier in the month and will form part of the star-studded line-up for Joshua’s first defence at the same venue.
Before that, Benn heads north of the border as his fellow Tony Sims’ trained gym-mate Burns looks to make history and become a three-weight World champion – and the 19 year old is still pinching himself at the
“I never thought that when I came over here I would be good enough to sign for Eddie Hearn and Matchroom – but so far it has been proven otherwise,” said Benn.
“My Dad backed me and next thing I knew I was walking out at The O2 in front of 20,000! It’s been an unbelievable journey so far and I’m pinching myself that I’m with Matchroom.
“I only had 20 amateur fights and came here to the UK with the intention to stay amateur for three years – which is what my father wanted me to do, but I wanted to turn professional.
“I’m just a baby in the sport of boxing starting out, coupled with being only 19 years old. I’m relaxed and don’t feel any pressure, I’m just going to be myself and do it my way.
“I want to box all over the country, so going to Glasgow and boxing on the undercard of Ricky’s third World title fight will be a huge honour for me.
“I’m excited to be boxing back at The O2 too and one thing you can guarantee with me is that I will be explosive and excite the fans.”