Glenn Foot has delivered a statement.
The Sunderland boxer, almost 12 months to the day since his first pro defeat, to Sam Eggington in a British & Commonwealth welterweight title match, is ready for his next championship mission.
Foot made a triumphant light-welterweight debut at the Stadium of Light yesterday when he defeated the extremely stubborn Lee Connelly.
The Sunderland favourite demonstrated at Phil Jeffries’ sixth Summer Rumble that slimming down a division has not weakened him.
In fact, on the evidence of this relentless six-round assault to the head and body of Connelly that Foot looks even stronger.
Top marks go to his opponent for his resistance and endurance – the 28-year-old really was made of Sheffield Steel.
How Connelly stood up to a vicious, sustained attack heaven only knows, but survive he did, though Foot clinched a 60-53 verdict from referee Steve Hawkins.
Foot is now targeting an autumn title shot at 10 stoness – either the English belt, which is currently vacant, the the British crown, currently in the ownership of Tyrone Nurse, or the Commonwealth, which belongs to John Wayne Hibbert.
And the Marley Pots hero said the 18-minute war with Connelly has set him up nicely – whichever route they go down.
“It was a great fight, toe-to-toe – that’s how I like them – and that’s what you need when you have title contests on the way,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s no good boxing people who run away.
“Lee took some great shots. He came to fight and I needed the rounds so it was perfect for me.
“Hopefully, there will be a title shot in September. Bring it on.”
Foot, roared on by his army of fans, was out of the blocks sharply, landing his jab and crunching some powerful rights into his foe’s head.
Connelly began round two brightly only for Foot to deliver left-right combination after left-right combination.
Lee, twice, defiantly shook his head as if to say “that didn’t hurt” but one sensed from ringside that Foot was making his punches tell.
Connelly was put down in the neutral corner after a sustained barrage of body shots in the third. While he hauled himself off the canvas, he complained the blow which felled him was low, though Mr Hawkins gave him a standing eight count.
It stung Connelly into action as he came back with a flurry of shots of his own, but it proved only a temporary respite.
He was soon pinned back in the other neutral corner and he then spent two periods in the fourth in the same position.
Foot, who appeared to have hurt his right hand, no shock given the leather he was throwing, seemed to concentrate on his jab more in the fifth and sixth rounds, but the right fist came back to the fore in the last as the Dave Binnns-trained fighter ended the bout as he started it.
The boxers hugged at the last bell as the spiteful, niggly atmosphere made way for mutual respect.
“When we’re in there we hate each other,” smiled Foot after visiting Connelly’s dressing room afterwards. “But it was a fight, that’s what we train for.
“Afterwards there are no problems. He’s a tough lad.”
Connelly deserved a medal for his contribution but Foot was the deserved winner.