Tommy Martin reckons he is in for a stern test when returning to the ring following a five-month absence.

The English light-welterweight champion faces hometown fighter Terry Needham in an eight-round catchweight contest at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Friday, June 26.

Unbeaten Martin hasn't fought since out-pointing Ricky Boylan to lift the English strap at the O2 Arena in London at end of January due to a hand problem.

He said: “It has been a bit of an anti-climax to be out of the ring for so long.

“Unfortunately injuries happen in sport and I know I have plenty of time on my side, but I'm itching to get back in there now.

“Mark my words, this will be a harder fight than Boylan. I'm not saying Terry is better, but he is a tough lad who will be awkward and our styles could clash.”

Martin will enter the ring a couple of pounds over the 10 stone light-welterweight threshold while welterweight Needham, who has a good amateur background, will come in under the 10-and-a-half stone limit for his division.

Martin's first defence of the English title has already been pencilled in for a September 12 show at the O2 Arena.