There is just over a week to go until Chris Edwards, Stokeʼs British super-flyweight champion, defends his title for the first time against English titleholder Andy Bell.
Last December, Edwards became the first man to bring the coveted Lonsdale belt back to Stoke for 85 years when he defeated Jamie McDonnell on points at Wiganʼs Robin Park Stadium.
As Edwards puts the finishing touches to his preparations at Impact Boxingʼs Fenton gym, he reports that he is feeling relaxed. "My training couldnʼt have gone better," said Edwards. "Iʼm getting used to preparing for big fights now and Iʼm feeling better than Iʼve ever felt before.
"This will be the third time that Iʼve fought for a British title and on both previous occasions, Iʼve had to go the distance so I have no worries about going twelve rounds now.
"I think that it gives me an advantage over Any Bell who will be doing twelve rounds for the first time, particularly since Iʼm known for coming into my own during the later rounds.
"Bellʼs a big lad and will be a lot heavier than me on the night but so was McDonnell and Bellʼs lost to McDonnell twice in his career. Also, Iʼm used to boxing bigger lads, Iʼve had to fight them through most of my career.
"Iʼm not taking anything for granted though; Bell is a tough lad and can be awkward so Iʼve been sparring the likes of Scott Lawton who is tall and rangy like Bell but who has also fought at the top level.
"Iʼm not feeling any pressure this time either. After getting a draw and coming so close against Dale Robinson, I felt under a bit of pressure when I fought McDonnell but now Iʼve won the title I have already written my name into the history books and I no longer have anything to prove. Bell will want to win the title to prove himself but heʼs got to take it away from me and Iʼm not ready to give it up yet so all the stress is on him.
"Together with Lindon my trainer and Scott (Lawton) Iʼve worked out a strategy for Bell and because Iʼm relaxed itʼs going to be a lot easier to stick to the game plan. In boxing nothingʼs certain but I feel confident going in to this one."
The fight takes place on Friday, March 28 at Barnsleyʼs Metrodome Leisure Centre on a Sky Sports televised card, the event being promoted by Frank Maloney. Tickets priced £35 and £70 are available from Imapct Boxing on 0845 156 7168 and free coach travel from Stoke has also been arranged.