A chronic bout of swine flu has recently been ravaging Britain’s light-middleweight division, writes Glynn Evans.
Since debuting in November 2012, Southampton sensation Joe Pigford has left all 10 opponents feeling sick as pigs as he’s huffed and puffed his way past them, with nine scorched in the boiling pot beneath the chimney long before battle had reached its intended course.
Though eight of ‘Piggie’s’ first nine victims entered with records sporting rather more red than black, Warwick’s Mike Byles was expected to extend him rounds when they collided at London’s Copper Box in late April. He was pork chopped up in just 161 seconds!
‘Byles had a decent record (just four losses in 12) and was supposedly a step up but I dealt with him as quickly as any of the others. I wobbled him with a left hook then just took him apart. The ref had no option,’ recalls the two time national junior finalist who is causing quite a commotion down on England’s south coast.
‘And I know I’ve got even more to show. I’ll knock them out even easier as I move up in class and the opponents open up and take risks themselves. It’ll give me a chance to connect with cleaner shots.’
Four first round knockouts plus a further four stoppages have left the 23 year six footer happy as a pig in sh** but his trot to the titles might not be plain sailing.
‘I’m in the gym all the time, anxious to progress, move up in standard, fight for titles,’ explains the Wayne Batten trained banger.
‘The English title would be a good next step or perhaps an Inter-Continental. I’m prepared to take whatever they offer me.
‘Trouble is, because of all my knockouts, nobody wants to fight me. It’s even difficult to get sparring at my level because people are frightened I’ll hurt them. Thankfully, (British champions) Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Williams have given me a bit of work.’
‘Initially this Saturday I was due to meet Rick Skelton who’d lost just one of 15 and never been stopped. He was ranked sixth in Britain and that’s the type of test I need. I’d have loved a chance to take his ranking but he bottled it. He was scared he’d get knocked out like all the others.
‘But boxing is a man’s sport and if you want to achieve anything in it, you have to be prepared to fight all the other fighters around your level. We’re supposedly fighting men.’
‘To be honest, the kayo punch was always there. I was born with it. As a skinny eight stone kid, I was blowing opponents away and at least half of my amateur wins came by stoppage. I put it down to natural technique and timing. I’m not sure it’s something you can coach.’
Big hitting ‘Piggie’ is released from his sty again this Saturday and shall be looking to hog some limelight on the mammoth double world title bill at Cardiff Ice Arena. He goes snout to snout over eight rounds with Manchester’s Sam Omidi (just two losses in seven), a fighter who held Commonwealth Games medallist Craig McEwan to a draw in Scotland just four months ago.
As always, he shall be accompanied by his huge litter of piglets, resplendent in full pig costumes, sporting snouts or masks and bellowing: ‘Release the Pig!’
‘Cardiff’s quite awkward to get to but I’ll still have well over a hundred fans. I love it. It helps draw attention and any publicity is good publicity,’ claims Joe who could find himself facing the winner of the bill’s salivating British and Commonwealth title shootout between Liam Williams and Gary Corcoran sooner than you think.
‘I’m with Liam Williams, all day long. Style wise, Corcoran is made for him. Liam’s quite a bit further on than me. I don’t believe Corcoran is.
‘It won’t be a bad thing if I go a few rounds in Cardiff. I was scheduled to go eight last time but didn’t even manage three minutes! Knockout or points, I want to deliver a nice, clinical performance….but I’m sure it’ll be knockout!’
BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, will televise the show live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546, TalkTalk 415, Freeview 255 and also on smart connected devices via multiple platforms. Go to www.boxnation.com to see how you can watch this fight and more live!