Phil Jeffries is confident Thomas Essomba can go into the lion’s den this weekend and retain his Commonwealth title, writes Roy Kelly.
His Sunderland boxer makes the maiden defence of his flyweight belt against Scotland’s Iain Butcher in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Essomba has a difficult assignment, taking on the highly-touted Motherwell fighter on a show staged by his promoters, MGM.
But the undefeated 28-year-old clinched the crown on his travels when he stopped Sheffield’s previously-unbeaten Waleed Din in the 11th round at Rotherham last October.
“Thomas is looking well,” said manager Jeffries.
“(Trainer) Sean Casey has got him in tremendous shape and I fully expect him to bring his belt back from Edinburgh.
“It’s not going to be easy - Butcher and his people are up for it.
“They wanted this fight and if you look at it, on paper, it’s a 50-50 job.
“But not in my eyes, I believe Thomas is the best flyweight out there, or super-fly, he can do any of the fly divisions.
“What I will say though is he has got to win and win well.
“It is hard to go to Scotland and get a (points) decision against a Scottish kid.
“I’m confident Thomas will be too strong and too good.
“He went to Rotherham in similar circumstances and I had him winning seven or eight of the rounds before it got stopped in the 11th.
“Thomas will need to dominate like that again this Saturday.”
Butcher has an impressive record of 13 victories from 15 bouts and at the age of 24 is four years the junior of Essomba.
The Stirks Butchers-sponsored star has won all seven contests, his last outing being a six-round points win over Latvian veteran Sergey Tasimov at Houghton in March.