Corby cruiserweight Simon Barclay has got home advantage for the biggest fight of his exciting ring career.
Boxing bosses have sanctioned an English-title eliminator between Barclay and Micky Steeds and the 10-round fight goes ahead at the Best Western Hotel on Friday, September 11.
Barclay says he’s “ready to take the next step” in his professional career after winning his first six fights.
The 25 year-old said: “I’m really excited. I’m getting closer to where I want to be.
“I’ve had a few four rounders to find my feet in the pros and now I want to be moved quickly.
“If I can get a good win in September, hopefully the English title will be next and when I win the English title, the next step is the British title and that’s where I want to be.”
Steeds, a happy-go-lucky East Ender who admits he only turned professional in 2003 to “earn a few quid” after a handful of unlicensed scraps, has challenged for British honours at heavyweight and cruiserweight.
He went the 12-round distance against Scott Gammer and Rob Norton respectively and has also shared a ring with Yoan Pablo Hernandez, the current IBF cruiserweight champion.
Steeds has been inactive, boxing just twice since December, 2009, but has proved his toughness over the championship course, while Barclay has only been beyond four rounds once, in his crowd-pleasing six-round points win over tough-as-old-boots Courtney Richards at the Best Western Hotel in April.
Barclay said: “I can do the 10 rounds comfortably.
“I didn’t have the best of camps for my last fight – I had a couple of weeks off through illness – and I still did the six rounds at a good pace.
“People definitely didn’t see me at my best in my last fight. I underestimated him, but in fairness, my camp wasn’t great. I won’t make the same mistake again.”
Barclay says he’s expecting a “really tough night” against Steeds.
He said: “I know I can punch hard enough to get people out of there early, but I’m expecting a hard 10-round fight.
“But it will be a tough night for him as well.
“I think everyone I get in the ring with is surprised by how quick I am and how hard I am to hit.”
Barclay did take a couple of whacks on the whiskers from Richards in his last fight, but his chin passed the test and he went on to win a competitive fight on points.
Barclay said: “I was quite happy with the way I adjusted my style and pulled away in the last couple of rounds, but I could have done a better job on him than that.
“I’ve had a bit of a break since that fight, spent some time with my family and I’m going to get in there feeling refreshed.”
The show in Corby will also feature Darren Murray, an impressive points winner over Lewis O’Mara at the Best Western in April.
Murray was scheduled to box in London a week on Saturday but has been ruled out with a hand injury picked up in training.
Tickets for the show are available from 07967 646016 and www.simon-barclay.co.uk.