Haskins stops Iwasa; claims interim IBF bantamweight title


Lee HaskinsLee Haskins claimed the interim IBF bantamweight world title with a sixth-round stoppage of Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa on Saturday.

Haskins dominated from the opening bell, knocking down Iwasa with a ferocious left cross in the sixth, before referee Phil Edwards had seen enough.

The sensational performance opens up the door for a potential clash against undefeated IBF World bantamweight champion Randy Caballero (22-0).

Caballero is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in February while preparing for a title defense against Alberto Guevara, which forced him to withdraw from the fight.

Speaking with BBC Sport, Haskins described his performance as his best.

“I’ve had 35 professional fights and that was the best performance,” said Haskins.

It was only Iwasa’s second loss in 21 bouts, but both losses have come by way of stoppage. He was stopped by Shinsuke Yamanaka for the Japanese bantamweight title in March 2011 as well.

Haskins has another option, a rematch against Jamie McDonnell. Haskins beat McDonnell on points in March 2008, which was an extremely close fight.

McDonnell, who holds the WBA World bantamweight title, would want nothing more than to add another title in his arsenal, and avenge a defeat in the process.

Iwasa struggled from the beginning, unable to get inside, and getting confused by his adversary, who was able to switch between orthodox and southpaw stances effectively.

The second round saw Haskins tagging Iwasa with precise shots, including a combination that wobbled his man.

Iwasa’s best round came in the fourth, when he was able to hit Haskins with a left hook, and a short combination when the Bristol fighter got a little careless.

But, the power of Haskins is what made the difference in the fight. Although Iwasa caught Haskins flush with another left hook, it wasn’t enough to send his man down.

Instead, Haskins sent Iwasa down, despite being bloodied on the nose.

Although Iwasa survived the count, Haskins went into beast mode and finished him off.