HORNDON ring professional ‘John’ Wayne Hibbert is getting ready for the biggest fight of his life.
The 29-year-old will do battle at the Civic Hall, in Grays, on July 19 for the vacant Southern Area light welterweight title.
He’s taking on the up-and-coming Joe Hughes from Wiltshire in a contest which Hibbert, who enters the ring wearing a John Wayne cowboy hat, believes he’s overdue.
He said: “This is huge bout for me. The biggest of my career.
“My grandad, who died about five years ago, was called John and I’m going to win it in his memory.
“I was next in line to take on the former Southern Area holder Ricky Boylan but he doesn’t want to fight me, so the belt’s been vacated.
“And as the mandatory challenger I’m now due to fight Hughes,” he added.
“It’s going to be a great bout to see and I’m hoping to get about 300 supporters along to see me box.
“I’m already well into an 11 week training camp and I am throwing in a lot of extra training for this one because it’s going to be a difficult one.”
As well as his usual fight sessions at the Gateway ABC, in Corringham – under trainer Mark Bates – Hibbert is also sparring against former WBC world champion Ricky Burns at a gym in Hainault.
Scottish Burns has provided a stiff challenge in Hibbert’s intensive sparring sessions.
As well as this Hibbert is also doing plenty of track strengthening under Alex Breeding at Canvey.
And Breeding has been throwing in a lot of short distance sets, with distances ranging from 100m to 400m – all done with short recovery times to get Hibbert fitter and stronger for what promises to be a real battle at Grays.
Carpet fitter and builder Hibbert said: “This is definitely my big chance.
“And when I win this it could open doors to perhaps a shot at a British title so that’s why I’m giving this one everything.
“I am just hoping that there will be plenty of support there for me on the night,” he added.
Hibbert’s sponsors include Reeds Butchers, painter and decorator Dean Compton, and also another local company, T&P Roofing.