POPULAR Sheffield puncher Adam Etches is set to challenge for his first title as a professional.
‘The Bomber’ will take on tough Belarusian Andrei Abramenka for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) youth title at the Ponds Forge Arena in his home city on Saturday April 13.
It marks a huge leap in class for the 21-year-old Yorkshireman.
Abramenka has won 18 of his 22 contests and has gone the full 12 round distance with former European welterweight champion Matthew Hatton. He was also one of Ricky Hatton’s main sparring partners in the run up to The Hitman’s comeback fight with Vyacheslav Senchenko.
“It’s a massive step up for me, but this the sort of fight I want,” Etches, one of Britain’s brightest prospects, said.
“He’s won a lot more fights than I have, he’s never been stopped and he’s proven how tough he is against decent opponents.”
Etches had wanted to face the highly touted Chris Eubank Jnr – son of the famous former world middleweight and super-middleweight champion.
However, with the Brighton man seemingly unwilling to step up to the plate, Etches says he is not prepared to waste time waiting around.
“I’ve wanted that fight for a long time and I still want it, but I can’t hang around for him when a chance like this has come up,“ he stated.
“Him turning it down as kind of been a blessing in disguise because I’ve got a title fight now.
“I’m sure me and Eubank Jnr will fight at some point and the longer we leave it, the bigger it will be.
“But I can’t think too much about him now because if I overlook this guy (Abramenka) then I’ll come unstuck and end up missing out on the fights I want in the future.”
Etches is widely regarded as the biggest draw in British boxing due to his ability to personally sell hundreds of tickets every time he fights.
However, he hopes the fight with Abramenka will see fight fans from the Steel City turn out in record numbers.
He said: “I’ve always had good support from the people of Sheffield and I hope they’ll come out and get behind me again for this fight.”
Abramenka, 25, said: “I have no fears of fighting Etches. I have moved up in weight for this fight and I’m confident of winning.
“I’ve faced better people in sparring, like Ricky Hatton, than Etches has fought so I don’t feel I have anything to worry about.”
The Ponds Forge bill will also see fast-rising Chesterfield lightweight Scott Jenkins engage in a six round bout against international opposition.
The show is being staged by Richard Poxon in support of the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity and Cavendish Cancer Care.
Tickets will be priced at £30 standard, £50 ringside and £70 ringside.