Norwich boxer Danny McIntosh to face Tony Bellew for British light heavyweight title
Norwich fighter Danny McIntosh cannot wait for his grudge match with Tony Bellew to finally arrive – and finish it by reclaiming the British crown.
The 31-year-old will return to the ring for the first time since May for a shot at Liverpudlian Bellew and the vacant light heavyweight title – a match-up more than a year in the making.
McIntosh's last outing saw him lose his European belt, with defeat to Eduard Gutknecht in Germany after an eighth-round stoppage – only the second loss of the Norwich man's 15-bout career.
Now McIntosh is ready to get back in the ring and make it count against the 29-year-old Bellew, with the bout set for a March date and most likely the intimidating surroundings of Bellew's home crowd at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
'I'm ecstatic – it's great news, being given another chance after having my European title and I'm being chucked straight into the deep end again,' admitted McIntosh.
'It's always been a bit like that, to be fair to me. I've never really had an easy ride but that's how I like it, and I'm going to go on his own turf and I'm going to knock him out on his own turf.
'It's going really well and by the time of the fight I'll be right on it…when I won the European title it took me three weeks to train for it. This time I'm going to have eight or nine weeks to prepare for it.
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'So he had better watch out because I'm gunning for his head. He's getting knocked out.'
In recent years McIntosh and Bellew have lost out to the world leader in their division, Nathan Cleverly – Bellew's defeat coming by way of majority decision in October after 12 gruelling rounds; Bellew's only loss from 16 professional fights.
Out of the ring Bellew and McIntosh have shared verbal jousts for some time, with the former claiming his Norwich counterpart didn't have the bottle to take him on.
'It's a bit of a grudge fight; there have been things said in the press – he doesn't like me, things like that,' said McIntosh, who aims to relish a night in front of Bellew's supporters. I can't wait – at the moment there is nowhere in Norwich for a venue, so I'd rather be in the Echo Arena than anywhere else. It will work in my favour. He'll have all the pressure and I'll have no pressure. I've been over to France and Germany, and I've never had any pressure over there so I'm not going to have any pressure in Britain.
'I've got my own support going, but in the end it all boils down to the fact there are only two of us in the ring. It doesn't matter who isn't in the ring – it's all about how strong you are in the mind.'
Venue and date details should be confirmed next week and it may be that Cleverly awaits the victors – if so, McIntosh claims the world champion knows who he would rather face.
'I spoke to Nathan on Facebook and he said he'd like me to knock Tony Bellew out so we can get a rematch on,' added Big Mac. 'Then you've got Enzo Maccarinelli. Me and Nathan get on but there is animosity around some of us and I think the division is hot at the moment – and there are a lot of potentially good fights that are going to happen this year.'
Given McIntosh's limited recent action, the Norwich man hope he plays his part.
'I love training and I just wish I could fight more often,' he said. 'That's the thing. It's very political, boxing these days, and maybe if I win the British title I can be out a few more times this year.'