Jack Massey vs. Bilal Laggoune
Bolton Whites Hotel, England – 26 November 2021
Rob Rimmer was always going to be a top boxing trainer. Rob is the son of one of the UK’s best known coaches, Bobby Rimmer, and has been around boxing gyms, great fighters and big fights nights for as long as he can remember.
The Manchester man – who boxed as an amateur and was also on the professional books of both Oldham Athletic and Bury FC – has trained a number of fighters at championship level but will be in the corner for his biggest night of boxing on November 26 when his fighter, Jack Massey, competes for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) World Title.
Massey will be in a hard fight against Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune at a sold out Bolton Whites Hotel, with all the action shown live by new UK boxing channel, Fightzone.
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Massey has lost just once in 19 outings, a contentious 2019 British Title defeat to highly rated Londoner, Richard Riakporhe. Since then, the 28-year-old has got back on the winning track with a brace of wins, including picking up the International Boxing Federation (IBF) European belt with a stoppage victory in his last fight in July.
Laggoune, also 28, has experience on his side. The Belgian has just two losses in 29 bouts and has been in with decent operators. Bilal can also dig, evidenced by his 14 KO victories, and has a point to prove to UK fans after a short-notice ‘away from home’ decision loss to top-rated Tommy McCarthy for the European Title in October last year.
Ahead of fight night, Rimmer offers his insight into the upcoming battle:
Break down Laggoune as an opponent for Jack?
This is one of Jack’s toughest fights. Bilal has a good credible record and has fought at a good level. He’s tough, durable, has never been stopped before but he’s the perfect opponent stylistically and it’s going to make for a great fight.
I’ve had a look at him, and I probably know him better than he knows himself! I’ve sat down time and time again to study him and looked at every possible angle. We’ve implemented a game plan and I really think Jack is going to nail it.
What are Laggoune’s strengths?
He’s tough and he takes risks. He likes to box on the front foot and every time I’ve watched him he likes to come forward. He’s got a good left hook and a big right hand but I think Jack’s boxing ability will shine through on the night.
The telling point in this fight will be Jack’s power. He has sheer, overwhelming power. I look back at the McCarthy fight, and no disrespect to McCarthy, but there were no really concussive shots, and vice versa. Lagounne was told towards the end ‘you know he can’t hurt you’ and to ‘come out and give it the round of your life’. If you come in with Jack and don’t respect his power then you’re in big trouble.
He’s said recently that Jack doesn’t hit hard; he’s going to have the shock of his life because Jack has world level power.
Bilal is very experienced, he’s been around and he has boxed for that European Title but I look back at the [Richard] Riakporhe fight, that was a couple of years ago and Jack’s a totally different fighter. The timing is perfect, Jack is a more well-rounded fighter now and full of confidence. I’m expecting the best Laggoune on the night. Every fight at this level is a tough one and we’re preparing for a 12-round war.
What are Jack’s qualities as a fighter – what do you see in the gym?
People forget that Jack was an elite amateur. He was a double ABA champion and boxed all around the world for England. I know I’ve talked about his raw power but he can box. He’s a smart fighter and has got fast hands for a big lad. And he’s grown into the weight, so he’s big. But for me, it’s all about his hand speed for such a big lump.
How is he looking ahead of the fight?
He’s looking tremendous. Everything is where we want it to be. He’s fit, conditioned and on fire! I really couldn’t wish for him to be in a better place. It’s been a tough camp, and I’m sure it has been for Bilal as well.
How confident are you that Jack can win the IBO World Title?
I’ve never been more confident from what I’ve seen in this camp and the way I’ve seen him perform. He’s full of confidence, has shown he has tremendous heart and a great chin, but the timing of this fight is perfect. He has that hunger and desire and I’m sure Bilal does too, but I see Jack being way too strong and fast. I just don’t see any other outcome. I know Bilal has never been stopped and it would be a huge statement, but I stand by what I’ve said and fully believe he’ll go.
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