Rendall Munroe will return to action in Bolton next month with a super-bantamweight clash against Argentinian Jose Raez.
And the former binman says he is fitter and hungrier than ever after giving up the day job due to a new sponsorship deal.
But while Munroe had been hoping to tackle the world's best bantamweights, the former European champion has been forced to remain in the higher weight class.
"I had a bit of a disappointment before Christmas with a fight postponed," he said. "I was going to make bantamweight but nobody will fight me at that weight.
"I don't want to be the forgotten man of boxing so I have got to go out there on February 4 and show the hunger is still there - and it definitely is. I'm ready and raring to go.
"Training has gone well and life has been made easier by the sponsorship. The rest period I get between sessions makes such a difference."
The 31-year-old has been a marked man since putting up a brave but fruitless fight against WBC champion Toshiaki Nishioka in Japan more than a year ago.
And new promoter Ricky Hatton admits it will continue to be difficult to match Munroe with the world's best.
"Due to Rendall's exceptional performance in his world title challenge he has landed himself in the 'who needs him' club," said Hatton.
"Rendall's a smooth southpaw, so the world champions don't want to know. He was moving to bantamweight but we have found the same problems there, such is his class."
The Reebok bill feature's Scott Quigg, who will defend his British super-bantamweight title against teak-tough Welshman Jamie Arthur.