Nav Mansouri hopes he can win the first of many titles tonight.
The 24-year-old puncher faces Nottingham’s Tyan Booth for the vacant English light middleweight belt in David Coldwell’s ‘Big City, Lights Out’ show at Ponds Forge Arena, Sheffield. Booth has stepped in for Nathan Graham, who was forced to pull out of the bout due to injury.
Rotherham-based Mansouri, with just one defeat in his 13 fights, has told The Star: “It doesn’t matter who I fight. As long as I’ve got gloves on, I don’t care. It would be a big thing if I won because it would be my first major title. I feel fit and strong and I can’t wait to get into the ring.
“I am so proud of turning my life around through boxing and winning this title would cap everything off.
“If I win, I would have to defend the English title and then I would go for the British.”
Mansouri is unfazed over his knock-out record which stands at 23 per cent.
“It doesn’t concern me,” he stressed. “I want to get rounds and more experience under my belt.
“I’ve trained hard and I am trying to improve every fight.”
Coldwell is delighted with the progress Mansouri has made in the last year. However, he has told Mansouri to stop losing his focus during fights.
“Nav knows where he wants to be and is rapidly getting there,” said the South Yorkshire promoter. “The kid can box but it is concentration with him. With his skill, he can make you miss but then he will switch off at times on defence and get caught with sloppy shots. Things like that irritate me as he is giving his opponent a chance. Those moments can change the momentum of a fight.
“If Nav wants to be a major champion, he has got to improve his concentration. He has certainly got the skill and the work rate to do well.”
Although Graham has withdrawn, Coldwell has warned Mansouri that Booth will be no pushover.
He said: “Booth has got nothing to lose so Nav will still have his work cut out. Booth has been handed an unlikely opportunity and he’ll be looking to grab it with both hands.”
Curtis Woodhouse (17-5) tops the bill. His new opponent in his debut fight at lightweight is Hungary’s Sandor Horvath.
Mansouri, Chad Gaynor (11-1), Sheffield heavyweight David Howe (19-1) and middleweight Liam Cameron all feature on the undercard.