Atif Shafiq has started the New Year with new direction as he prepares for his first fight in 11 months.
The former Ingle lightweight has signed with Dave Coldwell's management stable in his home town of Rotherham and has been slated to fight at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Sheffield, on February 15.
His return to the ring is a welcome one as he was unable to build on his career-best performances; in his last fight in March 2018 he stopped another Rotherham fighter Lee Appleyard in five rounds.
Next month's opponent has yet to be named for Shafiq (19-2-0.)
“2019 has got to be a British lightweight title shot for me." says the 24-year-old. "That’s the one belt I want most and I have to be fighting for it this year. Ideally, I’d need one or two more fights before I get to that point, but if I can get a British title shot and have enough notice then I know I’m able to go in there and get a result.
"For now, I just want to stay busy and keep building myself back up and I think I’ll be good to go for titles in about two fights time. 2019 is a really big year for me.”
“Dave is someone who I’ve always been cool with and I’ve had the pleasure of fighting on his shows when he was putting on a load of events in Rotherham and Sheffield just a few years ago.
"I’ve always been grateful for those early opportunities that he provided for me so I don’t think there’ll be any problems whatsoever with him managing me and getting me the right fights.
"Obviously I’ve been out for a long time, but I know deep down there’s a lot left inside me and as long as I get the chance to prove
it, I’m confident that I can achieve a lot in this sport as long as there are opportunities, and I trust Dave to do that for me."