Tommy ’Da Gun’ Martin says he is normally the ‘funny guy’ in training – but during the run-up to his first title fight next weekend the atmosphere has been both tense and serious.

Martin, the 20-year-old boxer from St Neots, has been working hard at his Trad TKO training base in Canning Town, with his eighth fight - the most important of his blossoming career - the headline bout at The Troxy in London on Saturday.

Martin will face Oldham fighter Ashley Mayall for the vacant lightweight International Masters Silver title - a definite step up from the British title that Martin originally expected to be contesting.

"I'm normally the funny guy," said Martin, taking a moment to talk to The Hunts Post during a light training session on his day off today. "Things in the gym have been tense and really serious. There has been no joking about ahead of this one.

"I am looking at this as the biggest fight of my career so far - but it's not going to be the biggest fight of my career in the future. There will be bigger fights for me."

Mayall is no mug. Like Martin, the boxer has fought professionally eight times, but unlike his opponent, the 23-year-old has lost half of his fights. Martin has a record of eight wins from eight - but still, he remains wary of taller man and his longer reach.

"Mayall is in his prime," said Martin. "He either knocks you out or gets knocked out. So it will be an exciting fight for the fans."

Sparring with Martin this week has been former British champion Darren Hamilton - and together they have been working on the 'reach' aspect of the fight.

"The kid's got a good reach," said Martin. "But with the help of Darren and my trainer Barry Smith I am working on that. I have fought boxers with a good reach as an amateur but not as a professional."

More than 250 of the boxer's Team Gun fanbase are expected to turn out for the fight in Limehouse. Martin is a proven ticket seller, hence his manager Johnny Eames's decision to give him top billing on an evening that will feature 11 fights and a whole host of Trad TKO's young talents.

Eames was especially impressed by Martin's performance against Dougie Curran at last month's Junction 17 Cars sponsored show in Peterborough. Once again, Martin's Yaxley-based sponsors are involved in the organisation of this event.

Eames said: "After his great performance against Dougie Curran last month, we've moved our Tommy Martin up to title level. It was a fantastic fight - a seriously close all action affair that Tommy came through with flying colours.

"Ashley was in a real war with our own Billy Morgan recently, so we know he is as tough as they come."

(With thanks to Fitfam Clothing for the photograph - go to www.fitfam-clothing.com to see their exlsusive Team Gun T-shirts)