Josh Wale will have an emotional and enormous homecoming after a deal was struck this week for him to fight in a world title eliminator in Barnsley.
Negotiations for a shot at the IBF inter-continental bantamweight title have been ongoing for a fortnight and it has now been agreed for the fight to take place at the Metrodome on October 5. The current champion, South African Mzuvukile Magwaca, has vacated the belt as he bids to overcome injuries sustained in a shooting incident earlier this year.
That leaves Brampton's Wale, 30, in a strong position as he now not only has home advantage but gets to choose an opponent. Wale is now expected to take on another South African in national champion Toto Helebhe.
Father Mick Wale, who trains Josh alongside Stefy Bull, said: "The belt has been vacated so we have to pick somebody in the top ten. We're number four at the minute so we go down the list. We had a great meeting at the Metrodome this week and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.
"It feels like destiny and the show will be called 'homecoming'. It's fitting because Josh has been away from Barnsley for four years. That's just how boxing works."You fight at your promoter's venue. Josh has been doing 250 tickets in Doncaster so we know he will do a lot more in Barnsley. We're going to pack out the Metrodome."
Wale has had to give up his British title in order to move up to world level. That was a wrench for the family but also a measure of how far he has progressed in a remarkable 14 months which have seen him win the English and British titles as well as record two defences by stoppage.
For Wale, it's time to test himself at a higher level. Mick added: "It's crazy because our whole dream has just been to win the British title. We didn't even think about defending it. I always knew he was good enough to be British champion easily and he's done that and we will see how much further he can go now. The only kids above him in Britain are either world champions or have been world champions. The kids below him are good but are not at Josh's level yet so we're looking up.
"After going from the position we were in to where we are now, we can't rule anything out. Who's to say he couldn't box on the pitch at Oakwell one day? Anything is possible."Barnsley is getting behind him and that makes me immensely proud. The town has, for the first time ever, got a genuinely world class fighter."
Wale is quickly getting over a knee injury which put off a third and what would have been a final defence of the British title, which could have seen him win the belt outright.
"Josh lives the life so he is back in training and it's like he has never been away," added Mick.
"He is the ultimate professional and, even though we are 13 weeks out, he is looking great already. He has got even more drive now because it's another new challenge for him. Nobody else in the world rankings has nine defeats on their record. It shows how resilient he is, and the journey continues."
The show will be broadcast on FreeSports and will be the first live televised boxing from Barnsley since Sky Sports featured a show back in 2009. Former British champion Robbie Barrett, from Darfield, will also be on the bill. He takes on Ellesmere Port's Matty Fagan for the IBF European title. Former Hard and Fast amateur Andy Townend will also feature on the show as will rising female talent Terri Harper.
Ticket details are expected to be confirmed shortly.