Askin in March title defence

Askin - after beating China Clarke

Askin - after beating China Clarke

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Matty Askin will make the first defence of his English cruiserweight title against mandatory challenger Menay Edwards in his home-town at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on March 29.

The hard punching 25-year-old won the crown at the same venue last April by out-pointing Leeds’ awkward China Clarke.

He had had one fight since - a routine six-round win over Bulgarian Tayar Mehmed at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan in December.

Now Askin will be looking to put on a solid display before turning his attention to the British title.

Askin would probably have been in the picture for a challenge for the Lonsdale belt before now, but had to spend much of 2013 sidelined with an injury.

He is looking to make up for lost time this year.

He said: ”Hopefully 2014 can be a big year for me.

“I don’t want to look past Menay Edwards, but I have dreams of winning the British title.

“I won the English title in Blackpool last year and it was one of the proudest moments of my career, so it’s great to be able to finally defend it.

“I had a few problems with injuries last year which stalled my career, but I got it back on track at the end of the year with a nice, comfortable win at Christmas and have high hopes for the year ahead.

”Hopefully, if I can get past Menay Edwards with a good performance I’ll be in the picture for either Jon-Lewis Dickinson or Neil Dawson, depending on how their fight turns out.”

Edwards is arguably the best opponent Askin has faced since his November 2012 tussle with world-ranked Polish puncher Krzysztof Glowaci, which resulted in a loss when the Blackpool boxer made an unsuccessful foray to Eastern Europe.

Nicknamed “The Emperor”, the 30-year-old from Crayford has won 12 of his 14 professional fights and is the reigning Southern Area champion.

”I’ve not seen much of Edwards, but I did watch him in Prizefighter and I’ve seen a clip on Youtube,”

Askin added: “He’s got a good record and he’s a good kid.

“He’s only been beaten twice, same as me, but not by the same quality of fighter I have.

”I’m sure he’ll be well up for it and come to give it a real go so it’s a fight that’s very exciting.”