Starie gets boost before Africa fight

BOXING: SUFFOLK'S super middleweight champion David Starie flew out to Africa at the weekend to prepare for his next fight, against Argentinian Bruno Godoy in Carnival City, Johannesburg.

Suffolk's super middleweight champion David Starie flew out to Africa at the weekend to prepare for his next fight, against Argentinian Bruno Godoy in Carnival City, Johannesburg.

His aim was to get ten days' tough training at altitude to prepare himself well for the contest.

Part-time fireman Starie, from Elmswell, is the British and Commonwealth champion and is ranked in the top ten in the world. And each contest brings him closer to his dream of another World title challenge.

Events in the past week, with the defeat of former world champion Glenn Catley, have suddenly brought the prospect of a title fight forward.

It could be later this year or in spring 2002 for Starie and manager/coach Gordon Holmes, who have now signed up with Golden Fists, the British arm of the international Golden Gloves organisation.

Catley's defeat drops him out of the race to take the WBC world title and opens the door for Starie to have a title fight sooner rather than later.

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Canadian Eric Lucas, who defeated Catley in seven rounds, is the No. 1 contender while Starie is at number eight.

Catley had been intending to face South African Dingaan Thobela, if he had beaten Lucas, now the WBC has ordered Lucas to face Thobela. The plan was for Starie to meet the winner of the Catley v Thobela contest. Now that will all change, and maybe for the better.

Starie said: "It was a good result for us.

"The next time I will be ready. The last world title fight (against Joe Calzaghe) I was too apprehensive and didn't have the self-belief I needed. Next time I am bringing a big advantage.

"The way things have been going, training, sparring well, has been great.

"I've been sparring with the British lightweight champion Wayne Alexander in London and it was excellent.

"I just need to get a good result from this, in South Africa, and then defend my British and Commonwealth titles in September and then go on to fight for a world title.

"These things happen in boxing. It is like a jigsaw puzzle and suddenly, with Catley losing, my piece fits."

First though there is the African experience, which will be a new one for him.

"I have never boxed as a pro abroad there I boxed a good amount as an amateur. Everything is going to be new to me.

"I am going out there to box and to win. I am not going there to enjoy the sunshine, beaches and lifestyle.

"I'll be training for the whole ten days, to get used to the altitude. I have got to make sure I come back with a win.

"I know he is a good, experienced fighter with a good record. I won't be taking anything for granted. I will be working very hard to get my body accustomed to it."

For once he will not have his fans cheering him on in the audience.

"I am Suffolk born and bred," he added, "and proud of it. Even though they can not come out there I know they are rooting for me, and behind me. They will be there in spirit so I won't feel alone."

Starie is intending to come out into to the ring to the Star Wars theme music and will be wearing silver shorts for the second time. "It is going to be a great experience," he added.

Further ahead he hopes to gets a match with Canadian Lucas. "I think he is an excellent fighter. It would be great to fight him for a title. It would be a good battle.

"My British title fights have all been good contests so hopefully my next world title chance will be too."

Starie, still sponsored by the World of Punch, will be wearing his Ipswich Town shirts in South Africa.

And he sees a parallel with himself and Town.

"I have never had it easy, and I have got the right results most of the time.

"Ipswich were continually near the top of the First Division and didn't have the luck for three or four years.

"Eventually they went that extra step. And they have stayed there and got stronger as well. I am hoping my career will take the same steps as that."