Robert 'The Butcher' Berridge is officially New Zealand’s highest ranked boxer with the World Boxing Organisation rewarding his recent exploits with a top ten ranking.
Berridge, now ranked No 10 in the WBO’s light heavyweight division, is on a run of eight victories following the only loss of his career to the undefeated Australian Blake Caparello in 2012.
The ranking takes Berridge - who has inked a deal to fight Adrian Taihia on May 22 - a step closer to his dream of fighting for the world title.
That’s closer than many might think with current WBO champion, Russian Sergey Kovalev beating American Cedric Agnew in New Jersey last month.
Agnew has received his title shot with a world ranking of 14 with the WBO.
"The ranking is significant for a number of reasons," said The Butcher’s promoter, Duco Events’ David Higgins.
"It underlines his quality and credibility.
"And, perhaps more importantly for Robert, it puts him in a position to have a realistic shot at the world title within the next 18 months."
Berridge has never been stopped in his 23 professional fights - his loss to Caparello coming via the judges at the end of 10 rounds.
That bout - the only loss of his career - lit a fire in the 29 year old Kiwi who set about knocking out his next eight opponents.
His last two bouts have been pay-per-view gold for fights fans with Berridge chopping down Daniel MacKinnon and Kerry Foley respectively in ten round ‘wars’.
The bruising southpaw - the holder of the WBO’s Oriental Light Heavyweight title as well as Danny Green’s old PABA Light Heavyweight belt - is aware of the significance of officially entering the world top ten rankings.
"It means plenty to my supporters and promoters," The Butcher said.
"It’s a sign that the hard work that we are all putting in is paying off."
Meanwhile, the long-awaited bout with Taihia will be fought on a card being promoted by Inga Tuigamala on May 22.
There’s no love lost between Berridge and the 31 year old who has 11 wins, one loss and two draws from his 14 outings as a professional.
Adding to the intrigue is that Berridge was this week ranked by the world authority BoxRec.com as the best pound-for-pound fighter in New Zealand.
That will only add to Taihia’s determination to beat The Butcher - someone he has previously accused of "ducking him."
Said Berridge: "Taihia should’ve been more careful with his mouth. I’ve never avoided any opponent and I’m going to prove he doesn’t have the same credentials as me..."