Benn vs Formella: Tom Little wonders if Alen Babic can ‘be hit by a big guy and still come forwards with ferocity’

Tom Little has warned Alen Babic that “nobody will run at me like he does” and has promised to meet his opponent head-on.

Little will be the toughest test of Babic’s burgeoning career when they meet on Saturday night on Conor Benn’s undercard, live on Sky Sports.

“He pushes the pace and makes people work when they are uncomfortable,” Little said about Babic, who has won each of his first five fights inside three rounds.

“He is strong with a good work-rate and, because he is quite small, is he quite fast.

“But there are chinks.

“Can he be hit by a big guy and still come forwards with ferocity?

“Everything he does, he does well. But can he do it against a big guy with good boxing IQ?

“Nobody will run at me like he does. I’m too big and too game. I’ll run straight back at you!

“I’m not worried at him overwhelming me. Come at me and you will be met by arms.”

Babic has blasted past Shawndell Winters and Niall Kennedy since boxing’s resumption in August but Little, who has won 10 of 18 fights, is his most experienced rival so far.

“I am the first person who has trained solely for him,” Little said.

“I know what he likes to throw, what he doesn’t like to throw. I have the beating of him. The best of me beats the best of him.

“For once, I’m excited because I know I haven’t cut corners. I have not skipped a single run. People will see at Friday’s weigh-in that I’ve put a shift in and slimmed down.

“This is my genuine chance to show what my ambition is. I’m grabbing it with both hands. This is my world title fight, I will put in my performance of a lifetime.

“I will be the one to bring Alen Babic’s gravy train to an end.

“I don’t want to be remembered for Saudi Arabia [where Little was knocked out by Mahammadrasul Majidov]. Babic is my way to not be remembered for that.”

Croatia’s Babic has mentioned after each of his recent wins that he wants to fight his countryman Filip Hrgovic, the Olympic bronze medallist.

Little was beaten by Hrgovic and now predicts that his former rival will be the next world heavyweight champion.

Little said: “Babic is an enigma. Nobody knows how he will fare. But I believe Hrgovic is the next dominant force in the division, he is a special talent.

“Hrgovic is why I knew my fight with Babic would come around. I am the common denominator.

“Hrgovic is not the man for Babic to mess around with. When I do a job on Babic I tell him: ‘Stay away from Hrgovic’.”

‘Nothing personal with Dave Allen’

Popular British heavyweight Dave Allen withdrew from a scheduled fight on Saturday and has announced his retirement from boxing.

“It’s a shame,” said Little. “People think I dislike him but I don’t. I wanted to fight him but it’s nothing personal.

“It’s upsetting because he is a personality who brought a lot to the table.

“But you know when it’s your time to go. Dave obviously knows and I wish him health and success.

“I hope he stays in boxing somehow.

“He is a credit to himself and the sport. I hope he doesn’t completely walk away from something that he has worked hard at – he could be a part of someone else’s story.”

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