The former Solly ‘old boys’ clash for the Central Area welterweight title, with Tonks insisting any notion he has been lined up as a walkover for his former teammate will be quickly curtailed.
“I only see one winner, myself,” said the 29-year-old. “But people see otherwise, so I feel like I’ve just been brought in to make the numbers up.
“I’ll soon shut people up on the night, don’t worry about that. I know I’m as good, if not better than Adam, but I think they see it as an easy fight.”
On paper, the pair are neck-and-neck – Tonks has three defeats in 13 outings; while southpaw Ismail, 31, has a single blemish on his 10-fight ledger. Both will be fighting for their first pro title, with Joe fulfilling a lifelong ambition when he heads up the Wigan bill.
“He’s a good fighter,” explained Joe. “I know him well, we grew up in the amateurs, although he was always heavier than me. We had a couple of little spars, and he’s a good fighter and a nice lad, but it’s business, isn’t it?
“Fighting for a title has been a dream since I first started, it’s massive to me. I’ve been out injured for a while so it’s good to be back and I just can’t wait for the night to be honest, I wish it was now! When I started I never thought I’d be getting to any titles so it will be a big night.”
“People talk about 50-50 fights, but this is a genuinely even contest,” stated promoter Steve Wood. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for both lads, the chance to win a belt and move on. It will be a great fight to watch too, because of the local pride involved. They know each other well, and neither will want to go home on the wrong end of the decision.
“I’m looking forward to getting going again this season, we’ve made 12 new signing over the break, and this first show is a busy one. The bill topper is a good match, we’ve got Jack Arnfield on the undercard, and also Sean Lewis against Hull’s unbeaten Nathon Smith, so that’s a fight to watch out for too. For anyone that can’t make it, the show will be streamed live and free on vipboxing.tv.”