ST Annes boxer Jeff Thomas has been handed the challenge of a lifetime – against the new hero of the British fight game Amir Khan!
Thomas is poised to take on Khan, rated the most exciting talent in the world, at the Braehead Arena in Scotland in February.
The fascinating clash could even have taken place as early as December 10 in London – however, the 26-year-old St Annes boxer was already committed to a promotion in Blackpool on December 14 and had to reject overtures from the Khan camp.
Though having to turn that date down, he had further talks with boxing agent Dean Powell, who indicated that Thomas would get the chance to fight Khan in Scotland in the New Year on a promotion headlined by Scott Harrison
It now makes it imperative that Thomas beats Baz Carey at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool, next month on the first and only promotion held in the resort in 2005.
A fight against Khan would be by far and away Thomas's biggest pay-day, an estimated 5,000 – and an exciting assignment that will catapult him into the national spotlight.
And should father-of-one Thomas produce the biggest upset in recent ring history, it would seal his fame and make him a national hero, opening so many doors.
Thomas is determined to make the most of this golden opportunity, though he is under no illusion that he will start a massive underdog.
"I am so excited about the prospect of fighting Khan – in fact, I can't wait to fight and I won't be overawed by his reputation.
"I could have fought him next month on the undercard of the Audley Harrison/Danny Williams fight in London, but I had to turn it down because I was already fighting in Blackpool.
"I work on the doors in Blackpool and I have to deal with a lot of aggravation from guys a lot bigger than I am, so it is not as if I don't know trouble is about and at least on this occasion I will only have one guy as big as me in the ring!
"It is good money – by far the best I have ever had.
"To be honest, I could have done with the money from boxing in December, what with Christmas coming up and a young son, but in a way it is good that I won't fight Khan until February because it gives me plenty of time to prepare.
"I realise I am not in Khan's class – after all, he is one of the most exciting boxers in the world and I would have been kidding myself to think that I am as good a boxer as he is.
"There will be no point in going into the ring trying to out-box him and will go into the ring with the attitude of trying to take his head off.
"Craig Watson fought Khan last year when they were amateurs at Preston Guild Hall – Watson put Khan on the floor and I consider myself a much better fighter than Watson."
Thomas's immediate priority is to produce a convincing win over Carey, who himself has already faced Khan.
Carey took on the Olympic silver medallist at Cardiff in September, winning on points.
Thomas said: "It is up to me now to do a better job against Carey than Khan did in Cardiff.
"I am not at worried about fighting someone like Khan – in fact, I regard it as a privilege that I have been asked."