Ross Burkinshaw is planning a pre-Christmas party in Sheffield - but there won’t be any turkey or tinsel.
The Beighton bantamweight hopes to mount the first defence of his Commonwealth title in the city, against former belt holder Martin Ward, possibly on December 13
Burkinshaw, 28, beat Doncaster’s Jason Cunningham, 25, at the Dome in a split decision 12-rounder on September 6.
The fight was made on the basis that the winner would face Ward, the southpaw from Durham who drew with Stuart Hall for the IBF World bantamweight title in February.
The 26-year-old north east fighter won the Commonwealth (British Empire) bantamweight title himself last year.
Burkinshaw said he recognised Ward was a tough, top-flight opponent, but felt comfortable he could retain the belt.
After all, few people gave him much chance of beating Cunningham in a late-notice duel.
Referring to the Doncaster contest, the Sheffielder said: “Watching it back, it was pretty even for eight rounds and then from ninth I started to take it away.
I believe I won it by three rounds. So it wasn’t a split decision (in his view) but what can you expect, it was in Doncaster, a Doncaster lad, two Doncaster judges, so it must have shown I did everything. I did the business.”
Burkinshaw’s success means he has scrapped plans to move down to superflyweight.
“We thought we’d get more opportunities at superfly, we thought we may get a title shot in about six months. Maybe central area or English or whatever. And go on for the Commonwealth within the year.
“And then the (Cunningham) fight came up with four days notice! But I knew I would be alright, I train hard, boxing is everything to me,”