It may be only early in Luke Blackledge’s boxing career – but he is expecting to get roundly booed tomorrow night.
The 21-year-old, who lives in Oswaldtwistle, is on the undercard of Tyson Fury’s defence of his Commonwealth heavyweight title – and Luke is facing Tyson’s cousin Phil.
"I think it is a sellout and I only received around 40 tickets to sell, so I am expecting a lot of booing as most will be Tyson fans and therefore Phil fans," said Luke, with the fight at Event City in the Trafford Centre.
"To be honest though, I feel fairly confident. I have watched Phil’s past fights and I know I can beat him."
Luke usually fights at super-middleweight and Phil at light-middleweight so the two are meeting at middleweight.
"I only took the fight two weeks ago and I have had to go from 12 stone four to 11 stone 13. I have never been that light in years and it is killing me!" said Luke.
"It has been rabbit food all week and intense training. The weigh-in is on the day so that is some pressure but hopefully it will all run smoothly."
Luke only took up professional boxing in October 2010 after a short career as a kickboxer.
Still in that time he managed to get the EBF British kickboxing title at supermiddleweight and the more recognised ISK English title.
However he decided to make the switch to a professional boxer and so far it’s five fights, five unbeaten.
And he has even caught the eye of former world light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton.
"We fought on one of Ricky’s Hatton Promotions fights at Robin Park in Wigan a few months ago," said his coach at Kokoro gym, Jason Curtis.
"Luke stopped Stuart Tordoff in the fifth round and, despite there being a number of title fights on the night, Luke was awarded the best fighter on the night from the Boxing Board of Control who were there and Ricky Hatton."
Such recognition is a welcome boost as it is only early in Luke’s boxing career.
He has been at Kokoro since he was 18, moving from Clitheroe to Accrington and joining the gym.
"When I was about 15 I started karate and grappling in Clitheroe and then I moved to Accrington and joined Jason’s gym and got a taste for kickboxing and boxing and have never looked back really.
"I am only 21 and only had five fights and it has been a steady progression.
"At first it’s four, three-minute rounds which is what I have done so far but tomorrow night will be the longest I have done with six three minute fights and that will be a test of my strength.
"Not that I have any worries. I am confident I can beat him."
Coach Jason backs this up: "It is Luke’s biggest fight to date as Phil has had 11 fights and won 10 but he is light-middleweight and Luke usually super-middleweight.
"So even though he has more experience than Luke, Luke is far bigger than him and I have no doubts Luke will win.
"Luke is a good boxer, he likes to be on the offensive and he trains extra hard."
Luke admitted: "I worked at paper/cardboard factory EW Cartons in Rishton for six months when I started boxing but I found it hard to do both.
"When I turned professional I was able to give that up but I train six days a week, running and sparring and in the gym."
His latest sparring partner has been Kevin Anderson, himself a former British and Commonwealth champion.
"Luke trains twice a day and is dedicated," said Jason. "He wants to fight, he wants to test himself and he is always pushing for a fight.
"A lot of boxers may have three or four fights a year but he has pushed for the five already and tomorrow will be his sixth.
"He wants to succeed and we hope to have another one lined up before the end of the year after this.
"Luke only took up boxing at 18 but he has crammed a lot into the three years.
"He has had 34 fights altogether – including his kickboxing ones – and that’s massive.
"He has won them all apart from two early in his career and now he is on a winning streak. He has a great character and wants to press on."
Luke admits he dreams of topping the bill like Tyson Fury and getting a few titles along the way.
"I am aiming high, I am only 21 and most boxers don’t win titles until they are 25 or 26.
"I am in the division which has some top fighters too but I would like to be British champion and then perhaps the European title and see where it takes me. I am still only starting out though so it is early for me to make predictions."
The current British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion is George Groves while the current world superweight champion is Nottingham-born Carl Froch.
"It is one of the toughest divisions and it’s a big test for Luke but he has the dedication and he is aiming high," added Jason.
TYSON Fury’s fight against Nevan Pajkic is live on Channel 5 on Saturday night.