Ross Burkinshaw has relinquished his Commonwealth bantamweight title to pursue his dream of winning a world title.
Burkinshaw – who also picked up the WBO European bantamweight belt last month after beating Belgium’s Benjamin Smoes inside a round – is next set to appear on May 30 against an international opponent.
The vacant Commonwealth crown, meanwhile, will now be contested by Doncaster’s Jason Cunningham – the man Burkinshaw beat to win the belt – and Kenya’s Nick Otieno on May 2 at the Doncaster Dome.
“Both Stuart Hall and Martin Ward won the Commonwealth and afterwards I got both of them a world title shot. Stuart won the world title, in the right place at the right time, and if Stuart can win a world title who’s to say Ross can’t.
“So that’s what we’re going to pursue. We’re grateful to the Commonwealth for the opportunity and if Ross comes unstuck he can always go back for it. But I’ve got a plan I’m working on, it’s not come off yet but I’m working on it and it doesn’t involve defending the Commonwealth.
“It’s obviously only fair then that we give someone else an opportunity at winning that belt. Jason Cunningham fought a very close contest with Ross when he won the crown so he now gets another chance against Otieno.
“I’m really looking forward to getting Ross back out at the end of May. He’s got so much confidence now, he just exhumes it and he’s a different fighter. It’s a world title route we’re going down and we’ll be looking at an international opponent for him next.”