McIntosh in bullish mood

Norwich boxer Danny McIntosh insists defending his European light heavyweight crown on foreign soil holds no fears.

The 31-year-old makes the first voluntary defence of his belt against German champion Eduard Gutknecht in Neubrandenburg.

McIntosh is under no illusions what lies ahead against the Kazak-born fighter in his adopted homeland – but the John Ingle-trained champion can draw inspiration from his previous title-winning fight.

McIntosh dramatically halted Frenchman Thierry Karl with a tenth round stoppage back in January for the vacant title.

'I believe that a true champion has to fight anywhere,' he said. 'I had to travel overseas to win the title against Theirry Karl and I will now do the same again. This title didn't come easy and I don't intend giving it up in my first defence. The only time I will give it up is after I have won a world title and I decide to vacate it at my own choice.

'I have always had great belief and even when I have been down, I have stayed firmly focused on the fact that better things are still to come. My hunger for bigger and better things is what will keep me going until I achieve my ultimate goal.'

McIntosh respects the challenger, whose only professional defeat came on points to WBO World super-middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz early last year.

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'He's a strong, determined fighter and he performed well even in that defeat,' said McIntosh. 'But he is switching to light-heavy where I feel strong and comfortable at this weight. I've sparred with Stieglitz and Carl Froch recently so it is easier for me.

'I have so much belief. Even if I was the underdog and I was behind on the judges' cards I will keep fighting my corner. I always believe that I can win any fight. I've prepared well and I have a lot of self-confidence going into this one.'

McIntosh insists he is in much better shape that when he stopped Karl.

'That was not one of my best performances because I only took the fight at short notice,' he said. 'I had about four weeks to prepare myself. Added to that I was also suffering with the flu during the build up but it was too good an opportunity to turn down – to become a European champion.

'It was the sort of fight that suited my strengths and afterwards I was ecstatic. Not just winning the title but to knock out Karl in front of his own fans was a really great experience.'

McIntosh's only professional defeat came against world prospect Nathan Cleverly at the York Hall in 2009 but the 31-year-old is not looking for a re-match if he retains his European belt.

The young Welshman is scheduled to challenge Juergen Braehmer for the WBO light-heavyweight title in London later this month.

'Cleverly has been involved in some good and bad fights since he met me,' said McIntosh. 'I would rather fight against Jean Pascal for the WBC title. I think that would be a great fight.'

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