KIRK Goodings insists there will be a no more focused fighter than him when he goes into the ring at the Metro Radio Arena tonight to make the first defence of his English lightweight crown, writes Graeme Anderson.
The 24-year-old is set to take on Fishburn’s Gary Fox in an all-North East clash which has been distinguished in the build up by the challenger’s claim that he will wage war and give the Sunderland fighter: “the biggest hiding of his life.”
But Goodings says that all the pre-match hype will mean nothing the moment the opening bell goes in their 10-rounder.
And the Nookside lad told the Echo he cannot wait to get it on.
“I’m really looking forward to it and for the last 48 hours all I’ve been thinking about is getting down to business and defending my title,” he said.
“The fight has been postponed a couple of times and that has been disappointing, I don’t think it has helped to be honest because I would have been ready the first time and I would have been ready the second time too.
“But these things happen and now I just can’t wait to get in the ring and get the fight on.
“I feel fit and sharp and I’m ready.”
The pair were originally due to be a top of the bill clash at a Rainton Meadows Arena fight-night which had to be cancelled when it was hit by a series of pull-outs.
Now the fight is on the undercard of the Stuart Hall-Martin Ward IBF bantamweight clash this evening
But Goodings says he does not care where he fights, or where on the bill.
“The ring is the same wherever you are in boxing,” he shrugged.
“I’m ambitious and I want to be involved in big fights and to keep on doing that, I’ve just got to keep on beating the opponents put in front of me.
“I’m proud to hold the English lightweight belt and be a champion for Sunderland and I’m determined that I’ll still be holding on to that title for the city come next week.”
Meanwhile, Fox intends to “get stuck in” and has vowed to give Goodings a run for his money.
The 28-year-old, did something of an “Alan Pardew” as he leant forward with his head at the traditional pre-fight photograph, following the weigh-in at the Metro Centre.
The Northern Area champion is confident, very confident, and puts that down to his greater dedication and determination to a career which has brought him 11 wins and just two defeats.
“I’m a totally different fighter to what I used to be,” he said. “I didn’t lead the proper lifestyle, but I do now.
“Now, I live like an athlete – I feel super-fit and super-human.
“I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and I’m now a better fighter.
“I feel this is my time.”