Paul Economides believes his opponents at British super-bantamweight level are ‘running scared’ after a planned fight with Lewis Pettitt for a Commonwealth title was cancelled by promoters.
Chester fighter Economides, from Vicars Cross, had been offered the chance to take on Erith’s Pettitt, ahead of him in the British rankings, for the vacant title, only to be told days later that Pettitt would face a lesser opponent for the belt.
Economides, who faces Ghanaian top 100 fighter Prosper Ankrah for the WBF Intercontinental super-bantamweight title on the televised Roy Jones Jr versus Tony Moran card at Aintree Equestrian Centre on September 12, has been calling out Pettitt and other standouts in the division including Gavin McDonnell and Jazza Dickens, as he aims to climb the rankings.
And having his chance to face Pettitt, part of Frank Warren’s stable, taken away, 28-year-old Economides believes that the only explanation is that opponents see him as too dangerous of a challenge.
“It’s a fight I’ve been after for ages and I got offered it, we had the contracts through and we were all set,” said Economides, who has been able to increase his training after going part-time following a sponsorship deal with Manchester-based firm Media Octopus.
“But then they went back on that and he’s going to be fighting some guy for the Commonwealth title who is way down the rankings and nowhere near as good as me and has lost to a guy who is rubbish.
LOOK: Paul Economides' career in pictures
“Lewis Pettitt sells tickets for Frank Warren. They don’t want me to win that title. They know full well that I would have been a real threat and I know I would have beaten him. But that’s boxing for you, I’m afraid.
“They said that the reason we wouldn’t be fighting is that the Commonwealth board didn’t sanction me which, honestly, is rubbish. We contacted them directly and they had no issues with me at all.
“These guys are running scared. I’m a threat to them and they know that. I’m a risky fight for them, a 50/50 fight. Why bother risking losing your title to me when you can get it by fighting an opponent with a poor record?
“Aside from Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton, who are on another level now and earning millions, everyone from three in the rankings down to me should be fighting each other. That’ll never happen, though. It’s what’s wrong with boxing I’m afraid.”
But Economides isn’t getting too despondent about the situation and is busy in the gym preparing to face tough super-flyweight Ankrah, who boasts a 24-5 winning record.
He said: “Look, I’ve got a fight coming up on the biggest stage of my life, on TV and in front of a sell-out crowd of 4,500. I’m ok.
“All I can do is keep winning and keep doing what I’m doing. The rest should fall into place.
“Fighting on the same bill as a legend like Roy Jones Jr will be a massive moment for me. I can’t wait for it.”
Tickets for the show can be purchased from Chester Boxers gym by calling 01244 342012 or via contacting Economides on Twitter (@PaulEconomides).