Ryan Farrag is hoping to avenge his only defeat against new British bantamweight champion Lee Haskins in the near future, but first has to win at the Liverpool Olympia on May 24.
A stack of Merseyside talent - including future superstar James ‘Jazza’ Dickens – will be in action on the VIP Promotions show and, on the night, Ryan faces a tough test in Najah Ali.
Iraq-born Ali has only lost two of eight bouts, against former British champ Shinny Bayaar and highly-rated Michael Walsh, and holds a win over former Commonwealth ruler Don Broadhurst.
“I’ve only seen a little bit of him and he looks like a good fighter,” assessed Farrag, 25. “So I’ve prepared and trained hard for this fight and I want to get him out of the way.
“I won’t take it lightly; I’ll be going in and treating it as a title fight. I’m always confident and go into fights thinking I’ll win. I’ve got good people around me and the sparring’s been going well. I’ve been hurting people with body shots and I’m feeling strong. So I’m dead confident.”
Promoter Steve Wood is sure that Ryan is a future British champion. The former amateur star holds an ABA semi-final win over Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell, and as a pro is 8-1.
If he keeps winning then Farrag is on a collision course with British king Haskins, who beat him in the Prizefighter format in 2011. And, if it happens, the Scouser is confident he will get his revenge.
“The fact is it was in Prizefighter over three-threes, and I got a nasty cut which wasn’t good. In my eyes it was quite a close fight and I’d definitely fancy myself to go in there and beat him. I know he’s a good fighter, and I take nothing away from him, but he’s got that belt and I want it.”
The Olympia is a home-from-home for Farrag, who has graced the canvas there six times previously, and the Liverpudlian is looking forward to returning to the historic fight venue.
Appearing alongside his talented VIP stable mates, Ryan is predicting an entertaining evening and a top atmosphere for North West boxing fans – including Ricky Hatton who will be at the show with his protégé, Ryan Burnett.
“It’s a great show. We’re all local lads, so it’ll be a good night for the city and hopefully people will come out and show their support.
“Jazza has just won the English title and is going to go far without a doubt. I’ve been watching Nathan [Brough] in the gym and he’s got a lot of potential. I rate him very highly and he’s good to watch. Steven Lewis as well, he’s just young but I fancy him to be a future champion. So, there’s some real talent on this show and I can’t wait.”
‘Battle in the City’, at Liverpool’s Olympia on May 24, will be topped by English super-bantamweight champion, James ‘Jazza’ Dickens. The undercard is packed with Merseyside talent including Ryan Farrag; Nathan Brough; Louis Cuddy; Wayne Adeniyi; Carl Dilks; Dean Swanson; Steven Lewis; Tom Carus, and Phil Smith. Also appearing will be Belfast’s Ryan Burnett and Mark Dunlop.
Tickets, priced at £30 (General) and £50 (Ringside), are available from all boxers or at www.vipbe.co.uk