Big Chapel support behind Jack Massey’s world title bid in Bolton
Chapel-en-le-Frith boxer Jack ‘One Smack Jack’ Massey expects it to feel like a home crowd is behind him in Bolton when he takes on Belgium's Bilal Laggoune for the International Boxing Organisation World Cruiserweight Title on Friday night.
The big fight is at Bolton White’s Hotel and live on Fightzone, but Massey has an army of fans heading up to get behind his glory bid.
“Ticket sales have been amazing,” he said. “They have gone absolutely fantastic and it will be a sell out show, which is great.
“I have over 500 going up there to support me so it will definitely feel like a home crowd. Thanks to everyone who bought them.
“It's a lot closer now – I can almost feel it so it's very exciting.
“We do the weigh-in tomorrow then it's show time on Friday and I am absolutely buzzing for it.”
On his preparations, Massey said: “It's been going great.
“It's been a tough camp – probably the toughest I've ever done. It has had to be for this one as I am fighting for a world title.
“Preparations have gone great and I am feeling fit and ready.
“I have stepped it up with more rounds of sparring and getting fresh people in to spar with. I will do five rounds with one lad, five rounds with another then four rounds with another. I have been keeping it fresh and keeping the sparring partners coming in.
“I have also stepped up all the fitness work and the strength and conditioning work as well.”
Massey has lost just once in 19 fights – a contentious British title defeat to highly touted Londoner, Richard Riakporhe, in 2019.
Since then,he has put together a brace of wins, including picking up the International Boxing Federation (IBF) European belt in his last fight in July.
Laggoune represents his biggest challenge to date. The same age as Massey, 28, Laggoune has fought 10 more times than his counterpart – with just two reverses in 29 bouts – has been in with decent operators and knocked out 14 opponents.
“From watching his fights, he's never been stopped and he is a tough opponent. He is good for 12 rounds – he's a fit lad,” said Massey.
“So I will just weigh him up and do what I do best. If the stoppage is there we'll take it, but we are not going to go out throwing silly big daft shots trying to knock him out. We will stick to the game plan.”
Fight Academy promoter Dennis Hobson stressed this will be a fantastic opportunity for Massey to stake his claim on the world scene but he will need to be at his very best to come out on top.
“When you look at the names who’ve won this title, some of them have created absolute legacies in the sport,” said Hobson.
“So, to be on the same page as them is a fantastic achievement; nice company to be in.
“Jack left Queesnsberry Promotions a bit disillusioned with the game and within two weeks of coming with us he won the IBF European Title and is now in for a world title straight away.
“Things like this just don’t happen, there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
“We put our money where our mouth is, and we’re good at getting our fighters opportunities. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.”
He added: “This is a platform for both Jack and Laggoune to move into some mega fights.
“He looks the part does Jack, and he’s exciting to watch.
“It’s a tough fight but so it should be, it’s a world title fight.
“You don’t just get given these belts, you have to earn them. He’s in with a kid who’s beatable but if he’s not up to it then he’ll get found out.
“We believe in Jack, he’s not in with Floyd Mayweather but has got a very credible opponent who will be as determined as Jack to become a world champ.
“You don’t win an opportunity like this without having to dig deep, but we believe Jack has it in him to do that.”
The IBO version of the world title has previously been held by top fighters including Antonia Tarver, Tommy Hearns, James Toney, Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck – and the winner can expect to be involved in huge unification contests further down the line.
Massey knows a win would see him leapfrog his domestic rivals onto the world scene.