Matty Askin is ready to be unleashed when he steps into the ring at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Saturday to defend his English cruiserweight title against Simon Barclay.
Askin (14st 3lb, 3oz) takes on Barclay (14-4) who has boxed only eight professional contests, on the undercard of the world bantamweight showdown between Terry Flanagan and Derry Matthews, and is determined to hang on to his belt.
Askin’s manager Paul Speak said: “Matty has trained hard for this.
“Barclay is a substitute for Lawrence Bennett, who was forced to pull out, and in my opinion Barclay will be a tougher opponent.
“But Matty is a champion and he is prepared to take on anyone in Britain and he is now ready to be let off the leash.
“A win on Saturday would be a stepping-stone to bigger and better things.”
The St Annes-based Askin is favourite at odds of 9-2 on to retain his title, with Barclay, winner of all of his eight pro bouts, rated 9-2 against.
However, the Askin camp are treating Barclay with maximum respect and are ignoring the odds.
Speak added: “I don’t know anything about betting, but what I do know is that Barclay has to be respected.
“He has a very good record as an amateur, winning two ABA titles, and he doesn’t know what it feels like to lose as a professional, so he will go into the ring feeling very
“No way is Matty taking Barclay lightly.
“The opportunity has arisen for Barclay and I am sure he will want to make the most of it.”
Speak added: “Matty is in great shape and he has three weeks of world class sparring in Denmark.
“He was in the gym with Micki Nielsen, an unbeaten cruiserweight, and the
Danish people said that it was the best sparring they had ever had, which is a big compliment to Matty.”
Askin has a clear edge in terms of experience tonight, having lost on points to Ovill McKenzie for the British and Commonwealth title – McKenzie later came close to winning a version of the world title.
He also gave Krzysztof Glowacki a fight and that boxer went on to dethrone Marco Huck to land the World Boxing Organisation world cruiserweight title.