Andy Townend cannot predict how he will feel boxing on the biggest stage of them all but is confident he can produce the performance he needs to become British champion.
Shafton-based Townend, 27, features on the bumper undercard to the Sky Sports Box Office televised world title fight between Sheffield star Kell Brook and Kazakhstan's feared knock-out artist Gennady Golovkin tomorrow night at the O2 Arena in London. The Barnsley boxer faces Essex-based Martin Joseph Ward for the vacant super-featherweight crown.
Ward, 25, who has won 14 and drawn twice, is seen as the favourite for the contest and will be in the home corner. Townend, though, is on a winning streak of nine with seven of them coming by way of stoppage and has recovered from setbacks earlier on in his career to boast an impressive slate of 16 wins and three defeats. In preparation, Townend has been on a long training camp in Tenerife.
He said: "The camp went really well. I was sparring every other day and against lads who are potentially better than my opponent. I don't know when it will sink in about being on such a big show. I haven't really thought about it.
"I'm considered a big underdog. It's up to me to go and grab the belt with both hands. Winning the British title was my granddad's wish for me before he died and I suppose it's like a world title for me. This is why you take up boxing."
Townend's trainer Stefy Bull sees Ward as one of Matchroom Sports' best talents but still feels his man is in with a chance.
"If Andy was to pull this off, it would be my best achievement in boxing – even better than winning the world title as a joint trainer of Jamie McDonnell," said Bull.
"Andy has come back from back-to-back defeats against journeymen to get to this stage in his career. Martin is one of Matchroom's poster boys but this is the acid test for him. I will bet my house that Andy will land at some point in the fight and it's up to Martin to see how he reacts to it.
"Andy has hands like pots and the freakish power to knock a horse out. He's an underrated boxer too and his speed will be key. It's the speed that has helped with the knock-outs."