Ijaz Ahmed believes he’s ready for the next step as the Midlands champion prepares to get busy again with ring time.
The reigning area flyweight boss will compete in a six-rounder, four months on from his maiden defence of those honours.
He features on BCB Promotions’ show at the Venue, on Dudley high street. The afternoon offering, on July 28, has been titled ‘Sunday Service.’
Ahmed has boxed two 10-rounders inside the first seven contests of his pro career, which have all gone the distance.
The 26-year-old racked up wins over Craig Derbyshire, Sergey Tasimov and Gary Reeve, before he was downed by Brett Fidoe.
‘Jazzy’ bounced back to beat Anwar Alfadli and then went straight into a clash for the vacant crown against Conor Blackshaw.
Ahmed’s hand was raised by two rounds in a 97-95 call with referee Shaun Messer, after a keenly fought affair.
He then put the strap up against fellow Brummie Matt Windle, who stunned him by putting him on the floor in the second round.
Back came Ahmed to press and eventually get on top of proceedings, earning another decision from Mr Messer but this time by a 97-94 scoreline.
Kyle Yousaf and Andrew Selby, who are in possession of the English and British belts respectively, are targets for him going forward.
He’s been sparring a world title challenger in the run-up to this one, in the form of Scotland-based IBF contender Muhammed Waseem.
BCB stable-mates Kyle Williams and James Beech have also shared a training ring and share a similar standing, as Midlands title winners.
Ahmed said: “I don’t know whether we’ll go for the English or straight to the British. There’s no one in the Midlands to challenge me, I’ve defended my belt and it’s time to move on.
“Matt is a nice person and a good boxer, but I feel like I was the worthy winner of that fight. I didn’t even think it was close.
“I took him a bit lightly early on and paid the price, with the knockdown, but he couldn’t handle the pace and the onslaught after that.
“I’ve lost the once myself, as a pro, there were circumstances behind the scenes that led to that and I put it behind me to go on a winning streak.
“I need to get back in there, shake off the ring rust and put on a performance for the fans then, after the summer, I want to move forward.
“I want to win another title by the end of the year, I know where I am and where I need to be to become a top champion.
“I’ll be ready when the chance comes, I’ve been working hard in the gym every day and I’ve had some great sparring.
“I believe in myself and, one day, I want an opportunity at a world title and to take on the best fighters in the world. I just need to keep progressing.”
Two hometown favourites will be in action elsewhere on the card, with Danny Ball and Connor Lee Jones slated to appear.
Ball, from Kingswinford, came close to becoming the Midlands welterweight champion in December, pushing title holder Benjamin to a points draw.
He was then matched for a shot at WBC Youth Intercontinental boss Jon Miguez in Spain, but an injury to his opponent saw the opportunity scuppered.
He instead focusses on adding to his eight wins from nine contests, with three TKOs including two in the first round. Two of those successes took place at the Venue.
Dudley’s Jones will be looking to extend his unbeaten start in the lightweight ranks, after racking up three spotless points successes.
The Lions Boxing Club graduate, an England international as a junior amateur, has vanquished experienced foes in Liam Richards, Kristian Laight and Ibrar Riyaz.
Kyle Williams is another to feature in the home corner, determined to get back to winning ways and rebuild after his setback for British honours.
Williams, from Wolverhampton, was handed his first defeat on the big stage in April, against Kash Farooq and relinquished the English bantamweight crown for the opportunity.
His next task is to add to his 10 wins, with three TKOs, having also picked up a Midlands belt along the way before claiming national glory.
James Beech Jr has relinquished the area strap at super feather, as he’s looking to come down to super bantam.
The second-generation fighter makes the short trip from nearby Bloxwich, featuring in the paid ranks for a 10th time after nine wins, with three stoppages.
He’s the son of Jimmy Beech, who featured 31 times as a pro at lightweight between 1999 and 2008. He’s a graduate of Pleck Boxing Club, who he featured for 80 times with 50 wins.
Wolverhampton’s Conah Walker has five victories, his in the welterweight division, with two TKOs already to his credit.
‘The Wolf’ is emerging as a prospect with a boxing legend in his corner, as he’s coached by two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton.
Walker already has his first six-rounder under his belt, outpointing Nathan Bendon at the same Town Hall in May.
Alex Florence is unbeaten in the super lightweight ranks, with five victories and one stoppage of his own.
‘Pinky,’ from Ledbury in Herefordshire, will register his first bout of 2019 having passed his two-year anniversary as a pro.
Female flyweight Dani Hodges, from Burntwood, will be determined to get back to winning ways after a first points defeat.
It took Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lisa Whiteside to beat her, a first setback since a TKO loss to Eva Naranjo in Spain two years ago.
An eventful 2019 has also seen the ‘Pocket Rocket’ vanquish Lauren Parker and Roz Mari Silyanova, adding to victories over Sonia Klos and Teodora Hristova.
Tickets, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with a buffet and waitress service, are on sale now. It will be £40 for entry on the door. For more information, contact the boxers.