Zak Chelli is adamant that beating Lerrone Richards would catapult him into contention at world level.
Chelli will defend his English super-middleweight title against Richards on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
But with Richards having beaten Carlos Gongora in his last fight, the man from New Malden is highly rated.
In the Transnational Boxing Rankings, an independent rating system, for instance he is the fourth best contender in the world at 168lbs.
The fiery Chelli however is by no means overawed.
“He’s always picked his opponents,” Chelli insisted. “He’s smart about that, I mean congratulations to him for doing it the right way, picking his opponents and getting that level. But now he’s got to face the music. He’s got no choice to fight me. I’m a young guy, I’m younger, I’m fitter, I’m stronger.
“The best fighter he’s fought was his last opponent. Look at when he fought Lennox Clarke, it was a split decision. Lennox Clarke got dropped by Mark Heffron, got stopped by Mark Heffron,” Chelli continued.
“I fought a guy called Chris Dutton, I stopped him in round two, Lerrone Richards fought the same guy called Chris Dutton, lasted six rounds with him.”
Richards is well regarded for his pure boxing skills. It makes him a demanding opponent for anyone in the division.
“Maybe he’s not a puncher, maybe he’s a boxer, but when you’ve got a really good puncher I believe, they’ll beat a boxer. If you’ve got great fitness, great speed, great power eventually a punch will land and you will go down,” Chelli declared.
“If he tries to come to me he will face the music and face the power. I don’t believe he will do that. So I’m going to have to bring it to him and I’m going to be smart about it .
“Eventually he will get tired, I will catch him,” he added. “I’m not just going to chase him around. I’m smart about it as well.”
Chelli speaks with intensity. He has been married by Richards.
“It’s all for show. Deep down he’s an arrogant guy, he thinks he’s the best. He just doesn’t like to show it. I believe you should just be yourself. If you believe you’re the best and you want to be arrogant, show it. But he tries to be humble and tries to be humble about it. But I’m going to show him on Sunday his true level,” he said.
There is though respect for Richards’ boxing ability.
“I’m not mocking him or taking him lightly. He’s a great boxer. He’s really good, skilful but he’s just not entertaining. We’re in the entertaining business,” he said.
“I need to take over and make it entertaining.”
Watch Zak Chelli fights Lerrone Richards on the undercard of Adam Azim vs Rylan Charlton. Watch live from 3pm on Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Arena this Sunday.