Nathan Reeve insists he’s ready to become the hero of his hometown by becoming the English super flyweight champion.
Reeve, who is Northampton born and bred, tackles Craig Derbyshire on his own turf in what could be a make or break contest.
Their battle for the belt headlines BCB Promotions’ bill at the Deco with fight night set for Saturday May 25, a bank holiday weekend.
They duel for the honours last held by Brad Watson, but he’s vacated to move up in weight to bantam. Derbyshire is going the other way to make super fly.
Reeve gets home advantage and a second chance at national glory, after he was outpointed by Louis Norman for the English title at flyweight in 2013.
It’s one of two defeats on the pro record of the 29-year-old, who was also beaten unanimously by Mike Robinson in a 2011 Prizefighter.
He spent nearly four years on the sidelines after the Norman setback, due to Achilles and hand injuries, but has racked up four wins since his return.
His return fight was a victory over Derbyshire, rolling over him in a four-rounder at the Deco by a margin of 39-37 with referee Kevin Parker.
Reeve’s ledger now contains 12 wins, with six TKOs, which is a stark contrast to Derbyshire’s tally of six successes, with two stoppages, 27 defeats and three draws.
Co-challenger Derbyshire, aged 27 and from Doncaster in Yorkshire, is a two-weight Central area champion, though, and shouldn’t be underestimated.
It could be now or never for ‘Thunder’ Reeve, a graduate of Far Cotton Boxing Club in his hometown, and he’s determined to succeed.
He said: “To have another shot at an English title, in my hometown this time, is like a dream come true. It’s going to be a great occasion.
“There’s a buzz about the place about this show, I’ve had people come up and tell me how brilliant they think it’s going to be.
“It’s the biggest title fight we’ve had in Northampton since Alan Bosworth fought Junior Witter for the British (2002, Witter won by TKO) all those years ago.
“For me, it’s what I’ve been working towards since I made my comeback. I’ve had plenty of support and I’m expecting a good turn out.
“My opponent is bringing some fans with him, as well, so it should be a great atmosphere in the Deco. It’s been a long time coming.
“Craig is a tough lad, people will look at his record and think I’ve got it easy, but I’m treating this like it’s going to be the fight of my life.
“I know what I’ve got to do, we’ve been in there together before so I’ve got a feel for his style but I’m fully aware that, this time, he’ll be coming to knock me out.
“He’s got a big right hand and he hits hard, so I’ll need to be switched on from the first bell to the last, which I’ve been training for.
“He’s won a couple of titles and he claims they are the only two fights he’s ever trained for. To win both of them, with the last one by TKO, shows he’s dangerous.
“This is a big opportunity for both of us, it could really open doors and lead to bigger things. I need to make sure it doesn’t pass me by this time.
“I’m not a spring chicken anymore, I’m 30 this year but I’m still pretty fresh, in terms of boxing. I’ve just got to make sure I perform to my best on the night.
“I carry a lot of power for my weight and, ultimately, he’s at my weight. I’ll do whatever I have to get the win. It could be pretty do or die.”
The under-card features a quartet of Northampton cohorts in the home corner, along with London-born super feather Leo D’Erlanger.
Jamie Spence is the most experienced and will be in action for the 20th time, with 12 wins and two TKOs to his credit.
The 34-year-old welterweight made his pro debut way back in 2006 and still holds out hope of title glories before he retires.
Another Northampton welter, Drew Brown, is also in action alongside fellow Northampton welter, Curtis Felix Jr, has notched eight victories and is also undefeated, including a stoppage of Jack Green on his paid bow.
His older brother Dominic Felix, who his nine years his senior at age 39, resumes his efforts at light heavyweight with a win, loss and a draw on his record.
D’Erlanger, himself a veteran who is 35, has racked up 14 pro bouts with nine wins, two wins and three draws.
‘The Lion,’ who is originally from the capital but now resides in Banbury, Oxfordshire, has fearlessly boxed all over the country, including a previous appearance at the Deco.
His last appearance at the venue saw him outpoint Inderpreet Gill by four-round whitewash in 2017 and he’ll looking to have his hand raised under the lights again.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £35 standard, £50 on the balcony and £65 ringside, the latter option to include a buffet. For more information and to buy, contact the boxers.