Swindon boxing coach Paddy Fitzpatrick provides an update on star fighter Luke ‘Duke’ Watkins

PADDY Fitzpatrick expects star cruiserweight Luke ‘Duke’ Watkins’ opportunities to open up in the coming months, following Lawrence Okolie’s decision to vacate the British title.

Watkins has fought twice since losing his British Commonwealth Cruiser Title to Okolie in June of last year.

The 29-year-old Swindon talent lost to Isaac Chamberlain on points at the Copper Box Arena in October 2018 before he defeated Ossie Jervier on Mark Neilson’s Fight Town I card in April.

Okolie’s decision to vacate the British title – which he won in September 2018 when beating Matty Askin at London’s Wembley Stadium – has granted Watkins a chance to return to the big time.

It follows a period of frustration for Swindon’s big hitter, particularly after he lost out on an appearance at September’s Fight Town II card when Watkins’ unnamed opponent withdrew from the fight at the 11th hour.

A return to the ring is scheduled for Watkins on Neilson’s Fight Town III card, though, which takes place on November 30.

And Fitzpatrick expects his star fighter to kick on after his latest bout – and hasn’t ruled out the chance of a title fight in the short future.  He said: “Luke’s opportunities are about to open up now.

“When you have a guy that has the British and Commonwealth titles, every other fighter below is simply waiting for an opportunity.  If you’re not in the title holder’s plans, you’ve got to keep yourself busy or hold your breath.  The Commonwealth will become vacant soon too – before Christmas I would’ve thought.

I think a lot of movement will occur at cruiserweight level over the next couple of months and I expect Duke to be a part of that.  Two months ago, I told Duke his best plan is to be patient.

By March, he’ll be back contesting significant fights in Britain. Until then, we have to keep him busy.”

Fitzpatrick underlined his belief that Watkins is far from the type of fighter that will allow himself to be frustrated by events that are out of his control.

The Ferndale-road based coach said Watkins’ eyes are – for now – firmly focused on his reappearance to the ring on

November 30.

He added: “You see it all the time – opponents pulling out and a last-minute change having to take place.

“It’s gut-wrenching for Luke (Watkins), but what can you do. He can either allow himself to implode, or he can realise that this is what can happen and he’s just got to get on with it.

“He’ll headline on November 30.”