Bradley Smith feels like a forgotten man, but on Friday night he intends to deliver a reminder as to why he is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in British boxing.
The unbeaten St Ives lightweight returns to ring after an absence of eight months when facing journeyman Ibrar Rayaz on an MTK Marbella show at the Brentwood Centre, in Essex.
Unsurprisingly Smith, a 20 year-old talent who has won his opening five outings in the professional ranks, can’t wait to hear the opening bell.
But he is also quick to admit he could face a long night in a six-round clash against an opponent who has a staggering 117 losses from 125 fights on his record.
But Rayaz, a 31 year-old from Reading, has only been knocked out on three occasions and he is likely to take some shifting by Smith.
“I feel like the forgotten man,” stated Smith. “I was getting into the limelight and people were talking about me.
“But now I need to go out there and show everyone what I’m about all over again.
“I rate myself highly and that’s not being arrogant. I know I’m a good prospect and I have to be confident in my ability. Outside the ring I’m quiet and shy, but in boxing I believe in myself.
“It’s my first fight over six rounds - and I’m preparing for it to go the distance. People will look at Rayaz’s record and see the number of defeats, but he’s a tough and durable guy.
“He won’t just go and cover up in the corner either. He’ll have his hands up and have a go at me - and that’s exactly what I need.
“The last person to KO him was Liam Walsh, and he’s now fighting for a world title.
“I’m a kid in boxing terms and Rayaz is a man. He’ll know all the tricks in the book and will try to rough me up, but I feel I’m levels above him.”
Smith had to shelve plans to fight in March when suffering a shoulder injury in training, but that’s firmly behind him now.
And he believes the extra time out of the ring could actually work in his favour as he aims to launch an important year in his career.
Smith, who trains at the West Ham Boxing Club in London under the tutelage of trainers Barry Smith and Harry Andrews, added: “Having this length of time out has been so frustrating as I feel like I’ve lost a big chunk of an important year in my career, but it has also helped me get into great shape.
“I’ve been working hard in the gym since January and hopefully that will be evident in my performance on Friday.”