Sam Eggington says a win against former World Champion Liam Smith at The M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on March 30 would fire him straight back into the title mix at 154lbs.
Former European Welterweight champ Eggington admits that his clash with Smith, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US, is make or break after suffering a shock stoppage defeat to Tanzania's Hassan Mwakinyo at Arena Birmingham in September, but insists he feels no pressure heading into the Merseyside showdown.
‘The Savage’ was preparing to face former World ruler Brandon Rios at Wembley Stadium when he was wiped out by the dangerous African in two rounds, but the Stourbridge man says there is no chance he will be making the same mistake again by overlooking his former sparring partner Smith, who he expects a 'bloody battle' with.
"I don't feel any pressure going into this one," said Eggington. "The bookies have me down as a huge underdog and that suits me just fine. I'm going to put the work in behind the scenes and come up on the blind side and get a big win that no-one is going to expect. I didn't think I'd get a huge fight like this so soon after my loss, so to get Liam, a former World Champion, is a huge motivation for me.
"I do a lot of sparring with Liam and he's a good bloke, they all are at Gallagher's gym. I think he'd say the same about me, but there's no room for niceties, come March 30 we'll be knocking lumps out of each other and I'll be fully prepared for a bloody battle with him. I'm in no position to be turning down fights like this after what happened. He's the favourite but we're quietly confident of getting the win.
"Our spars have always been competitive. You could have sold tickets for some of them! That's why I'm so confident our fight can't disappoint on March 30. We're going to be in 10oz gloves with no head guards, it's going to be brutal and I can't wait. It's guaranteed to be an exciting fight for the fans – I promise you that."
The 25-year-old, who holds notable victories over Frankie Gavin and Paul Malignaggi, returned to winning ways with a four round decision over Sam Omidi last month. Another win on March 30 could see him return to fringe-World level and the all-action Brummie is unfazed at the prospect of fighting any contender put in front of him.
"A defeat isn't the end, I've proved that myself. I've got a big opportunity to get things back on track later this month. They say you're only as good as your last fight, so to beat Liam Smith would push me right back up there. That's the drive for me in this fight. A win would open up doors to bigger fights and get people talking about me as a serious force again.
"By the end of this year I'd like to have beaten Liam and had another big fight against a top operator. There's plenty of options out there so we’ll see where it goes. I can’t look too far ahead though – look at what happened against Mwakinyo, I was looking too eagerly ahead and I got blown right out, so I’m not going to do anything like that again."
Smith vs. Eggington tops a huge night of action in Liverpool.
Domestic Super-Lightweight rivals Joe Hughes and Robbie Davies Jr meet with the European and British titles on the line.
Former Great Britain teammates Anthony Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald look to settle their longstanding feud in a dynamite Super-Welterweight clash.