Darren Surtees is to fight for a belt in only his fifth professional bout.
The unbeaten Thornley boxer takes on Luke “The Nuke” Keleher for the British Masters light-welterweight challenge belt at Houghton on Saturday, December 3.
It is the chief support act to the Northern Area lightweight title battle between Newcastle’s Lewis Ritson and in-form Seaham boxer Jordan Ellison.
Surtees, part of the David Binns stable at the East Durham Community College gym in Peterlee, has reeled off four wins since leaving the amateur game.
It is a tough eight-round assignment for the 22-year-old – Keleher has recently gone the distance with Conor Benn, the hard-hitting son of the former world super-middleweight champion, Nigel.
But Surtees is excited to be taking on the Halifax fighter, who has two wins and a draw from eight appearances.
“You could say I maybe need more experience before doing an eight-rounder for a belt,” said the 22-year-old. “But I had a good amateur career, so I’ve got all that I can draw upon and I could not wish for a better gym to prepare with.
“Jonson McClumpha, Warren Baister, Jay Hughes, Chris Wallace and, of course, Glenn Foot are all in the gym and are great lads to train with and learn from.
“I’m not taking anything for granted against Luke.
“He’s 29, he’s a hard man, he’ll go and box anyone anywhere.
“I’m not fooled by the fact he’s lost more than he’s won – a couple of those defeats have been bad decisions.
“He’s a handful but I hope I can come through it and show what I can do.”
Surtees v Keleher is part of a bumper show which has been dubbed ‘Christmas Cracker’.
The event is being co-promoted by Phil Jeffries and Fighting Chance and the organisers
“It’s a fantastic show to be a part of,” added Surtees.
“I love boxing here, it’s a great arena with a brilliant atmosphere ,” he said.
“I’ve fought loads of times, I won a national title here in the amateurs and my first two bouts as a pro were here.
“I’m hoping there will be a few people from Thornley and Wheatley Hill coming here to support me.”