The history between Archie Sharp and Jeff Ofori goes back to when they shared countless rounds sparring two years ago – but Sharp has warned his opponent that he’s now a completely different animal ahead of this weekend’s showdown.
Sharp (18-0, 9 KOs) defends his WBO European super-featherweight title against Ofori (10-2-1, 3 KOs) this Saturday, live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank and on BT Sport in association with Queensberry Promotions.
It’s part of the card that sees two-weight world champion Carl Frampton face former British title challenger Darren Traynor, and Irish hero Michael Conlan take on recent world title challenger Sofiane Sofiane Takoucht, with those two fights live on ESPN.
Sharp and Ofori are very familiar with each other, as Ofori was Sharp’s main sparring partner ahead of his battle with Lyon Woodstock in 2018, but defending champion Sharp insists he has come on leaps and bounds.
Sharp said: “Jeff was my sparring partner for the Lyon Woodstock fight two years ago. A lot changes in two years and I have grown into a different fighter and, no disrespect, in the two years I have picked titles up and unfortunately he hasn’t.
I know Jeff keeps himself in the best shape possible and it is going to be tough. He is probably thinking he will get in and give Archie a hard night’s work, but I have been boxing since the age of seven so it is nothing unusual to me.
He is fit and will be on his game, but I am in the best shape I have ever been. Fighting and winning a world title is what I came into boxing to do and to fight big names like Carl Frampton.
No disrespect, but Carl is in a position where he has a target on his back and it is a fight I want. I am in the game to be the best.”
Ofori added: “One hundred per cent I can cause an upset. Where I am from not many fighters get the opportunity so , for me, I will grab it with both hands.
“I’ve been training right through and I am ready to go. I don’t think he will underestimate me because he wants to keep the platform he’s got. I’ve got other plans and I am hungry to stay in the game and be in the best fights. Winning would definitely change my life.”
Elsewhere on the card, Troy Williamson defends his IBF European super-welterweight title against Harry Scarff, and unbeaten stars Dennis McCann and Paddy Donovan return.