by Jonny Stapleton
Juho Haapoja is hoping to use Irish cruiserweight champion Ian Tims as a stepping stone into the European big time.
The former Finish heavyweight champion faces the three time Irish amateur heavyweight champion in Finland on January 21 and believes he can win the battle of the trimmed down duo to claim the EBU EU Cruiserweight crown.
The 31 year old, who has lost twice in 19 outings, says he is aware of the Irish Cruiserweight champion’s qualities, but feels he has the tools to disarm ’The Tank’.
“I know Ian is a tough fighter. I know that he won the Irish amateur championship three times at heavyweight. I know he’s record and I have seen him fight on you tube, but I am very confident. I have been training hard. Fighting for the EU title is a big thing for me. I want to use it as a stepping stone to bigger fights,” Haapoja told www.irish-boxing.com.
December trips to see Santa in Lapland aside, Finland isn’t usually top of any Irish person’s travel wish list. Tims, however expressed his comfort with fighting abroad and Haapoja himself doesn’t believe in home advantage.
The Fin claims every boxer should be at home in the ring and doesn’t think his support will play a key role on the night.
“The ring is same everywhere in the world. A ring is a ring . I have lot of support here, but i don’t think that will have a huge bearing on the outcome. When I am away from home I just keep swinging!”