Robbie Barrett hopes victory tonight in his first fight in six months will put him back in contention for major titles.

The 26-year-old lightweight from Darfield lost his British title, at the first defence, and an 11-match winning run at the Manchester Arena last year against Lewis Ritson. He now faces Cheshire's Matty Fagan at the Doncaster Dome and victory will make him the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Commonwealth title fight between Tommy Coyle and Sean Dodd in Liverpool eight days later.

Barrett said: "I'm feeling good and looking forward to getting back in the ring and starting my year off well. I believe I belong at the top level of British boxing and this is my way of getting back there. A win should get me back in the mix. Hopefully I get a good win then watch Coyle v Dodd knowing I will fight the winner."

Barrett's trainer and promoter Stefy Bull added: "Robbie Barrett is one of the best lightweights in Britain but he's now the forgotten man after losing to Ritson who I think can go on to be a world champion. It's a must-win fight and it will wipe the slate clean. I believe, without a doubt, that Robbie can win this fight then win the Commonwealth title later in the year. He's getting married as well so 2018 could be fantastic year for him."

Since beating Barrett, unbeaten Ritson has recorded two more impressive victories and is considered one of the rising stars of British boxing. Barrett said: "We knew before the fight that he was very good but he was unheard-of. So when I lost to him I got a lot of criticism from muppets on the internet who don't know anything about boxing. But since then, with the success Ritson has had, people have really taken notice of him and my loss doesn't look too bad.

"I was very down and disappointed for a few weeks after I lost because we had worked so hard to get that title then lost it on the first defence. But now I look back on it, I can learn a lot from it and it's made me a better fighter."

Barrett's fight tonight was due to take place two months ago but a back injury forced him to pull out. Another injury, to training partner and British champion Josh Wale from Brampton, means he is the headline act in Doncaster.

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"I have been out longer than usual but, apart from ten days away from the gym after I hurt my back, I have been working really hard and I'm going into this fight in very good condition. It will be good to be the headliner, and something a bit different but it doesn't really matter where I fight on the bill."

Whereas Barrett has won 15 out of 19 fights, losing three and drawing one, tonight's rival Fagan has won 12 and lost three while he is three years older than the Barnsley man at 29. Barrett said: "I don't know a great deal about him. I let my trainers work on that side of things.

"I did see him box (against former Olympian Joe Murray in September) when I went to see Josh Wale in Manchester and I thought he was unlucky to lose. I am 100 per cent confident of winning. I have a lot more experience at a higher level and I think that will be the telling factor."