Ijaz Ahmed believes he’ll be where he belongs when he co-challenges for the Midlands flyweight title on his own turf next month.
He will oppose former English title challenger Conar Blackshaw at the Holiday Inn Queensway in Birmingham, on the Sunday afternoon of December 9.
Ahmed holds home advantage over Derby’s Blackshaw, who came up short to Kyle Yousaf for national honours last May.
The title tussle will headline Errol Johnson’s BCB Promotions dinner show in the second city, on a bill which has been dubbed ‘Lord of the Flys.’
The vacant 112lb area crown has only ever been contested four times, in two contests that became rematches after one was ruled a draw.
Brummie Anthony Hanna was the first champion in 1994, outpointing Shaun Norman. The two also went the distance on the second occasion, a year later, which ended a stalemate.
No new title holder was produced when the strap was contested in 2015, as Jamie Williams and Usman Ahmed could not be parted. Williams won the return, on points, a year later.
Ahmed and Blackshaw will now duel for the vacant honours towards the end of 2018, but only one ‘0’ can go for a new champion to be crowned.
Ahmed goes for glory after five pro bouts, with four wins and one loss to show for it. All of them were above flyweight and each one went the distance.
The 25-year-old was at his heaviest when he was downed by Brett Fidoe, after he’d beaten Craig Derbyshire, Sergey Tasimov and Gary Reeve.
The St Francis Boxing Club graduate bounced back to step up in distance and vanquish Anwar Alfadli, with the next level now fast approaching.
Blackshaw, also 25, has six wins from nine and has gone eight rounds twice, but Ahmed insists he’ll be the last man standing when they do battle.
He said: “I always knew I would be a flyweight fighter, it’s been my intention to campaign there since I turned pro bit I’ve been gradually coming down.
“I’ve got my weight under control and it’s been falling off nicely, which has been the case for a while now. I still feel strong, as I was expecting to.
“My last fight was at super fly, I thought I did well and it was comfortable, both with the win and doing the six-round distance for the first time.
“Now it’s up to 10 for this title, but I’m not worried about the distance. I’m already doing it in the gym and my stamina is the best it’s ever been.
“I’m not been as active, as I would like to be, and I need all of that to change now. It’s about learning and climbing the ladder, one step at a time.
“I’ve got three other good victories as a pro and the one defeat, which was up at super bantam against Fidoe. I’d been out for a while before that.
“He got a bit lucky, really, he caught me with a shot I didn’t see coming, I stumbled back a bit and fell over. It was a knockdown, that I had to chase.
“I thought I’d won the other three rounds well, but he got the result by a point. I believe I should have just edged it, but all that is behind me now.
“I’m 25 now, I’m in a position where I need to go and do something. It’s time to go up a level and a shot at the Midlands is exactly what’s required.
“I don’t know a lot about Conar, but I’m aware he’s a come forward fighter, who likes a scrap, and that’ll suit me. I’ll pick him off on the back foot.
“He’ll find the pace very tough if he bombs at me for a few rounds. It’s about controlled aggression, when I get my chance to shine I’ll take it.
“I’m determined to go out, beat the guy, pick up the belt and then go as high as I can in boxing. I’m not in the sport to stand still, I’ll want more.”
Central Area heavyweight champion Kash Ali, born in Birmingham but now living in Sheffield, features trying to keep up a run that has seen him score six TKOs from his last eight outings.
Jordan Clayton, who is now looking to campaign at welter, makes the short trip from Solihull having returned to winning ways at the same venue in September.
Super lightweight Brad Thomas, a protege of Frankie Gavin, drew on that September 16 card and will want to go one better this time.
Fellow Brummie Zaheer Asghar completes the line-up. The southpaw is looking to make it a hat-trick of victories in the super middleweight division.
Tickets for ‘Lord of the Flys’ are on sale, at £65 VIP ringside to include a two-course Sunday lunch or £35 standard. For more information and to buy, contact the boxers on Facebook.