It’s ‘make or break’ for Shayne Singleton as the former English champion looks to make an instant impact at light-middleweight against seasoned professional Peter McDonagh.
The 27-year-old, who has secured titles in three separate divisions, will face the ‘Connemara Kid’ at the Manchester Arena on September 23rd on the undercard of Joseph Parker’s second WBO World heavyweight title defence versus Hughie Fury.
The one-time Sandygate ABC amateur isn’t averse to competing at 154lbs, having landed the British Classic Challenge strap when disposing of Gary Cooper in the eighth round at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in 2015.
After his attempt to become the best of Britain was foiled by outright champion Bradley Skeete, the Pendle pugilist (23-2-1) said: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a fight that I couldn’t turn down.
“They approached us, he’s obviously confident that he can beat me, and we jumped at the chance especially at light-middleweight. That was an extra bonus because it’s the weight that I’m moving up to.
“The fight is definitely on but we’re just waiting to hear what title we will be fighting for. I thought I was going to have to slowly build my way back up, but I’m straight back in to the mix. If I win this then I’m away again.
“It’s a huge opportunity and it’s a fight that I can win. It will probably be the first fight in a while where I’ll be favourite.
“He’s lost a lot of fights even though he’s unbeaten for around four years. He’s on a good run but he’s 39 now. He shouldn’t be beating me.
“I’m treating this as a make or break fight for my career. I know I’ve still got a lot to give, I’m still not in my prime, but I’ve been beaten a couple of times now.
“I’m fighting at a weight that I’m comfortable with now so let’s see how I perform. I can’t afford to lose. I’ve got to treat this fight very seriously.”
His Irish opponent, a self-confessed ‘vintage Rolls Royce’, has lost exactly half of his 56 bouts but hasn’t been beaten in more than four years.
The 39-year-old has beaten Curtis Woodhouse, Michael Gomez and Lee Purdy along the way, he’s taken Skeete to points twice and fought Frankie Gavin, Yassine El Maachi and Ronnie Heffron.
McDonagh is in good hands, with Peter Fury in charge of the fine-tuning at MGM Manchester, and Singleton knows that he can’t afford to be complacent: “I’ll look to jump up to the big fights straight away if I win this one.
“I want to fight the best and see where I can get to at this level.
“I’ll be 28 when this fight goes ahead so I need to know If I’m going to make it. This is the decider for me, it’s a ‘must win’ fight. I’ve got to start putting things in to perspective now but if I win I’m flying.
“He’s beaten some good lads. He beat Lee Purdy who was an animal. He’s a good fighter but his record is like it is because he started out as a journeyman.
“He got on the right track and now he’s with Peter Fury. He’s been producing the goods. I can’t underestimate him.”
Singleton, coached by Karl Ince, claimed the WBC Silver International belt for a second time when overcoming Adil Anwar inside the distance on the one and only occasion that he featured at the venue.
He provided the warm-up act for Anthony Crolla’s WBA World lightweight title success over Ismael Barroso, looking a ‘million dollars’ in front of Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn.
Now, the Pendle pugilist is determined to put on another show to officially announce his arrival at super welterweight.
“It’s the perfect venue for me,” he said. “I only have good memories of that place. I’ll have positive things going through my head after I beat Adil Anwar there in style.
“I moved up to light-middleweight after the Sam Eggington fight and put in one of my best performances (against Cooper). I’ll be looking to repeat that again.
“It’s a big bill, a Mick Hennessy show, and it will be aired on BoxNation.
“It should be a great show with a world title fight between Hughie Fury and Joseph Parker headlining it. Hopefully it’ll be a new belt for me to pick up.
“There’ll be a lot of people tuning in to watch Parker. There are a lot of Anthony Joshua fans who will be interested in seeing what he’s all about.
“He’s got a world title and and AJ’s got a few. They’ll want to see what all the hype is about with Parker.”
Anybody wanting to enquire about tickets for the show can contact Shayne on 07857 476485.
Shayne would like to thank Ross’ Roofing, Uprite Scaffolding, Bounce Back Safety Surfaces, AJ Wood Ltd, Fitness Evolution, Salvador Health, Pendle Narrowboats and Wellocks for their ongoing sponsorship and support.