Sedgefield super-lightweight Bradley Saunders described forthcoming opponent Dave Ryan as the "biggest step up" of his professional career so far.
The fight, which is for Ryan's Commonwealth title, takes place at Newcastle Arena on 4 April. Saunders, who now trains in the Spanish city of Marbella, has won all 11 of his professional bouts, including victory against Ivans Levickis in November. "It's the biggest step up of my career," Saunders told BBC Look North. "The man has beaten better people than I've boxed but I've kept myself right over Christmas and I'm down on the weight. It's a massive, massive fight but I'm on track."
While the former Amateur Boxing Association champion has a workout fight in Hull on March 3, Saunders is happy with his preparations, notably compared to those for the Levickis bout in Liverpool.
"I had two weeks' training, which is not really right, but I have a little boy and a missus and I've got to keep them happy at Christmas," the 29-year-old added. "It's always nice to get a run out - two weeks' training, straight in the ring and get paid for Christmas. It's my job and it had to be done."
Saunders, who was back in Britain to cheer on brother Jeff in his professional debut, is positive about the prospect of claiming a belt in his native north east. With Jeff also named on the 4 April card, the family are impressed by the appetite for local fighters from the north-east public.
"It would mean the world to me, and I've done 2,000 tickets in the first day," said Saunders. "I wouldn't like to say how many other thousands have gone and it's nice to have the north east behind us."