Norwich boxer Danny McIntosh ready to enter Tony Bellew’s den and leave with British title
It has been almost a year since Danny McIntosh lost his European title – and the Norwich fighter is confident his short delay will only help him win the most important fight of his career to date.
The 32-year-old from Mile Cross aims to relieve Evertonian Tony Bellew and his vociferous support of the British light-heavyweight title on Friday night at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
There has been little love lost in the past between the pair, who were scheduled to fight on April 13 before a chest infection forced McIntosh to postpone.
But now Norwich's former European champion, who lost that belt in his last bout – a seventh round stoppage to Eduard Gutknecht in Germany in May – is eager to make his mark once again.
'This British title is probably my biggest fight,' said McIntosh. 'This puts me in line for big, big fights. I believe I could be looking at a world title after this fight.
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'If I beat him, which I will, in better fashion than Nathan Cleverly did, that puts me in line to fight Nathan Cleverly I believe. I don't think anyone else in Britain could fight Nathan or is in that league, so I think I'd be next in line.
'I'm very positive. It's been a bit of a delay but it has probably played to my advantage. I'm very fit, really healthy and ready to bring a title back to Norwich.
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'I would have fought but Dominic Ingle, my trainer, was insistent I had a couple of weeks so that's what happened.
'I've had 13 weeks training so this is the fittest I have ever been coming up to a fight and I don't think there's any chance of hiccups. Tony Bellew will have to be Superman to beat me.
'It's the lion's den for me – Daniel in the lion's den – and I'm relishing it because there's no pressure on me whatsoever. I fought away twice in two different countries last year. I didn't even fight in Britain. So I'm relishing fighting in Britain.
'He's going to have a bit of a partisan crowd there, but I'm not fussed by that. I've had it before. I've fought away so much in the last few years. I haven't fought in Norwich for a while, so it won't be foreign for me.'
The Sheffield-based fighter has been training at the Ingle's Wincobank gym for the last 10 weeks, and is due to travel to Liverpool on Thursday ahead of the fighters' weigh-in. And while losing his European belt remains a regret, McIntosh believes it will lead him to bigger and better things – starting on Friday.
'I shouldn't have lost that title,' added McIntosh. 'But these things happen for a reason and I believe this is just another stepping stone towards a world title.
'Losing that belt has led me to this fight. I had a European belt and I don't think many people knew about it. It was away, it wasn't on the television and I don't think I got much acclaim for it, which I wasn't fussed by. I fight for me and I'm not really bothered by the big lights.'
Even without a title on the line, there is no doubt McIntosh would relish beating Bellew – a man the Norwich fighter has regularly sparred with verbally.
McIntosh added: 'Do you know what? It's been fairly quiet in the build up. I don't know if it's wariness or not, but in the past he has been a bit vocal and I just think he's been very quiet for this one, so maybe he's a bit wary of my power.
'You don't see many foes in boxing these days. There's no Eubank and Benn, but I'm coming up against an opponent where we are a modern day clash like that, me and Bellew.
'It's all gone to plan, really good sparring with heavyweights a lot taller than me, a lot taller than Bellew, so things have been going really well.
'I just cannot get into the ring now, I really can't wait. I could fight tomorrow. I'm so up for this fight it's unbelievable.'