Rotherham boxer plays the Wild Card

Nav Mansouri
Nav Mansouri
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Nav Mansouri has flown 5,300 miles to America to give himself the best possible chance of becoming British light middleweight champion.

The Rotherham fighter, who is the English champion, steps up to try and dispossess Liverpool’s Liam Smith of the British strap on July 26.

Mansouri (W13 L1, D2) is the underdog against a battler who has beaten all 16 fighters who have previously challenged him.

So the South Yorkshireman is currently training at Freddie Roach’s wildcard gym in Los Angeles.

Speaking from there, Mansouri explained: “This is a very different type of sparring than I have done before - there is no mercy shown here. It is tough and people are trying to take my head off, but so far it is still on!

“I know I am the underdog so I needed the best preparation and this is definitely amazing training.”

Smith is both British and Commonwealth champion and teh fight at Manchester Arena will be his his second defence.

Last December he KO’d Rochdale’s Mark Thompson in four rounds on Merseyside. “Liam is a good technical boxer. He is strong on the front foot, can pressure you, a decent kid” said Mansouri. “But I will definitely find a way to beat him on the night. Whether I have to be slick and box him or put a load of shots together, well, we’ll see what happens on the night.

“I am quicker than him and have the sharper hands, so I will be alright.”

The scrap is on the undercard of the Tyson Fury v Dereck? Chisora headliner. That will doubtless draw in a huge crowd, but Mansouri insists he won’t find it nerve-wracking.

“I have been on other good bills, like David Haye, so it’s not new for me. But with this being the British title, there is a lot more to this fight than anything before, for me. It is the hardest task I have had to face but I will be ready.”