Northampton’s Nathan Reeve insists his best days are still ahead of him as he gears up for a huge fight night in his home town later this month.
The 29-year-old steps up to challenge Central Area Bantamweight champion Craig Derbyshire for the vacant English Super Flyweight title at The Deco on Saturday, May 25.
Reeve and Derbyshire have met before - also at The Deco - with Reeve coming out on top with a thrilling points victory back in September 2017.
And the Northampton ace, who has missed out on the English title before, losing to Louis Norman in Wolverhampton in December 2013, said: “Preparations have been going really well - a lot better than when I challenged for the English title before.
“I’ve been getting some good sparring in and everything else, like strength and conditioning, roadwork and work in the boxing gym is going great.
“It’s exciting to be involved in a big fight like this and be a part of the town’s history.
“There hasn’t been a title fight as big as this since Alan Bosworth fought Junior Witter at the Derngate, so to go out there and get the win would be really special.
“I can only thank my team at BCB promotions for getting me this opportunity.”
Reeve recognises that taking on Derbyshire over 10 rounds will be a much tougher task than the four-round bout they met in previously.
But he is fully confident that he can get the job done to ensure the title comes to Northampton.
“I know it’s not going to be an easy task against Craig,” said Reeve, who trains at Far Cotton ABC with John Daly.
“Although I’ve beaten him in a tough fight over four rounds before, I can’t look too much into that, as fighting over 10 rounds is a whole different ball game.
“He’s improved, he has won two Central Area titles against good prospects when he’s stepped up to 10 rounds before, knocking both of them out.
“It’s such a big opportunity boxing to become English champion and I know he’s a strong lad.
“He’ll be bringing his best, so I need to be on my A game for the whole fight.
“I have 100 per cent confidence in my ability though, and I’ll do my absolute best to make sure that English title stays here afterwards.”
Reeve has suffered several injury setbacks during his career, but he is hopeful he is over those woes now.
“I’ve been quite unfortunate with injuries in the past,” he said.
“It’s quite normal to pick up niggles in training, so I work with a sports therapist now throughout training camp, to help keep my body in top condition.
“So far so good, I’m all on track for a great performance.”
Reeve, who has won 12 of his 14 professional bouts to date, believes he can beat Derbyshire and lay the foundations for more big fights in the future, insisting he has plenty more to give in boxing.
“Winning the English title would really establish me as one of the top domestic fighters in my division,” he said.
“It could open up doors to bigger titles; British, European and beyond.
“I’m 30 at the end of this year and always said I want to retire from the sport in my early thirties, with my health still intact.
“So my ultimate aim is to push myself over these next few years to achieve as much as I can.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have great supporters at my fights over the years, and I want to leave everyone with fond memories of my fights.
“I’m convinced the best days are still yet to come!”