Shayne Singleton admits to feeling overwhelmed after being recruited as chief support for David Haye’s comeback at the O2 Arena on January 16th.
Before the Hayemaker headlines the show against Aussie Mark de Mori, the 26-year-old Pendle pugilist will shoulder the responsibility of warming up the crowd at the 20,000-capacity London venue when taking on John O’Donnell in a British welterweight title eliminator.
The pair, both former English champions who boast 51 victories between them, will replace Billy Dib’s bout with Jamie Speight after the one-time IBF World featherweight champion was forced to withdraw due to an injury sustained in training.
“Everything has just grown,” said Singleton. “I’ve had to work extremely hard to get here and I’m really happy that my chance has come again. I’ve fought on a lot of smaller shows, plodding along, so it was great to see everything start to escalate.
“It’s absolutely brilliant and I’m overwhelmed to be a part of it. I’ve got goals in my career - winning British and Commonwealth titles being two of the more serious ones - but being involved in a show like this is just a dream for me.
“You don’t even think about fighting in front of 20,000 people as chief support for David Haye on his return. It’s something else.”
Karl Ince’s student added: “It’s a far cry from Colne Muni. It’s a massive jump and I’m chuffed with it. It’s a dream come true because I’ve grafted the hard way to get here while some fighters are spoon fed a career.
“But this makes it all worthwhile. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and a bit crazy.”
The 147lb fighter, who defeated Gary Cooper with a stunning stoppage in his last outing at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, is fully aware of the risk that he’s taking after accepting the proposal at two-and-a-half weeks notice.
However, Singleton is confident of beating his Irish foe after lessons learned on his maiden loss against Sam Eggington.
“You’ve got to take risks and this is a massive risk,” he said. “It’s a bigger risk than the Eggington fight because I had 10 weeks to prepare for that. I took this fight at two-and-a-half weeks notice. I’m facing a slippery, awkward southpaw too which I haven’t done since beating Steve Jevons in 2014.
“I’m 100 per cent confident about winning this fight though. There’s no doubt in my mind about going there and getting the job done. I didn’t take the fight for the money or the occasion. I’m going to win because I want to fight for the British title. I would love to own that Lonsdale Belt.”
Singleton, who could force a rematch with Eggington should the ‘Savage’ overcome mandatory challenger Bradley Skeete when the bout is finally scheduled, added: “It should be very interesting. We’ve both got very good records and it will be a good tactical battle. I learnt a lot from the Eggington contest and I won’t be rushing in again. I haven’t seen much of him but I’ve seen a few clips.
“I’ll need to watch out for his jab hand because it comes from his thigh rather than from by his face. He likes to throw it upwards so I’ll need to be wary of that. That’s in his make-up so I’ll have to keep him at a distance and keep an eye on that hand.
“I’ve got to get through it and that’s when all the happiness and joy will be flowing through me. It’s one thing being given the opportunity but I’ve got to make sure that I take it now. I don’t want to experience defeat again. I’ve got to make sure I do it this time.”
shayne would like to thank Wellocks, Bounceback Safety Surfaces, Mancini Menswear and AJ Wood Ltd for their continued sponsorship and support. Tickets for the show can be purchased from www.hayemaker.com.