Tommy Martin can handle everything title rival John Wayne Hibbert throws at him

Tommy Martin during his WBA Continental title win against Michael Devine. Picture: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Tommy Martin during his WBA Continental title win against Michael Devine. Picture: LAWRENCE LUSTIG - Credit: Archant

Tommy Martin reckons he can deal with anything big fight rival John Wayne Hibbert throws at him tonight.

Martin is oozing confidence ahead of his mouth-watering Commonwealth and WBC International light welterweight title challenges against his friend and former sparring partner.

And unbeaten Martin, who has won all 13 pro fights to date, believes his considerably older opponent is showing signs of cracking under the pressure ahead of their clash at the Copper Box Arena in London.

“The hard work is all done, I’m comfortable at the weight and my head is on fight night,” said Martin. “I’ve trained hard, I’m hungry and I’m ready for whatever Hibbert brings to the ring.

“I’ve read plenty of his comments and they just tell me he is feeling the pressure as it gets closer to fight time.

“We did 100-odd rounds of sparring together, but I’ve come on so much since then and I can’t wait to showcase that.

“He is another year older and I don’t know if he loves the game any more whereas I live and breathe boxing 24 hours a day.

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“What sort of fight it is depends on how much heart he has. I just hope he doesn’t break his hip on the ringwalk!”

If this fight was a football match, it would be classed as an Essex derby - Martin (born in Chelmsford) challenging Hibbert (born little more than 20 miles away in Orsett).

But the St Neots-based Martin classes himself a man of Cambridgeshire these days and local people will provide the bulk of his 500-strong Team Gun following at the Copper Box Arena.

Martin added: “I’m very happy living here and I class it as home. I’m in London during the week for training, but I class St Neots as home. Myself and my girlfriend got our first house here last year, I went to school here at Longsands Academy and I regard myself as a Cambridgeshire boy now.”

Martin has warmed up for his latest night in the spotlight with sparring against past and current world champions.

His preparations have included rounds with former two-weight world king Ricky Burns and current champion Carl Frampton.

He also spent time at what he describes as the ‘unbelievable’ facilities of the Macklin’s Gym Marbella in Spain while the expertise of strength and conditioning coach Liam Price have helped him get into supreme shape.

Martin will go into the ring a hot favourite for glory. The bookmakers make him an 8/15 odds-on chance with Hibbert at 15-8.

But Martin insists he will treat himself as the underdog until the opening bell sounds.

“The bookies aren’t stupid, are they?” he continues. “And they don’t get too many things wrong.

“I always train like I’’m the underdog then go into the ring and fight like a champion, which is exactly what I’ll be trying to do tonight.”