CALLUM Simpson is hoping to win his first international belt on Saturday night with the aim of fighting for the British title by the end of the year.
The 26-year-old super-middleweight from Barnsley is due to take on Mexican Jose de Jesus Macias – a late replacement for original opponent Germaine Brown – at York Hall in London for the WBA continental title.
Simpson has won all 12 of his professional fights and this is his third on Sky Sports after being signed by promoters BOXXER who are hoping to get him a British title fight this year then a bout at Oakwell next summer.
He told the Chronicle: “Because my new opponent has a higher ranking, we could get it approved as an international title fight.
“It’s my first fight at this level and puts more on the line.
“Once I win this, it gives me a good world ranking, maybe in the top 20.”
Macias – who has won 28 of his 44 professional fights – replaced Brown as Simpson’s opponent last week.
“Now I am getting more notice with my opponents, we can study them more.
“But I have been in the game long enough to know things change last-minute.
“I don’t let it affect me.
“I will focus on myself and make sure I am at 100 per cent.
“He is definitely a step up, he’s 70 places higher in the world rankings than Germaine Brown.
“He’s given some good fighters a lot of problems.
“He’s a typical tough Mexican, who has only been stopped once.
“It’s the kind of fight I need and want.
“There’s no point in having an easy fight.
“There were plenty of easier fights I could have taken.”
Should he win, Simpson is likely to fight current British champion Jack Cullen for the title.
“As long as I win this fight and win it well, I should fight for the British title in December.
“Every Brit wants to win the British title. It will look good around my waist.”
Simpson is a Barnsley FC fan and is hoping to fight at their stadium in the next year.
“As long as I keep winning well, BOXXER are looking to do a show at Oakwell next summer.
“Hopefully in a few weeks I will be walking out there with my WBA title. I was down there last week filming a promo video.
“BOXXER have been in contact with the club and there are things in place.
“I just need to build the momentum and interest.”
Liam Kitching, the former Barnsley FC captain, was in Simpson’s corner for his television debut in March but has since moved to Coventry City.
He may attend the fight after City’s game at QPR on Saturday but none of the current players, many of whom have watched Simpson live before, will be able to go down to London as the Reds play at Oakwell from 3pm.
Simpson is hoping to have hundreds of fans cheering him on.
“There are at least 150 people from Barnsley who I have sold physical tickets to and I know there are a lot more who have bought tickets online.
“Athersley Reds have got a 53-person coach going down.
“Hopefully a few people will watch it in pubs in Barnsley.”
Simpson recently spent a second spell in Canada sparring with world champion Artur Beterbiev.
“It was a good experience again.
“I got some good rounds in.
“I felt I did even better than the first time.
“Unfortunately it was cut short because he got an infection in his tooth.”