Barnsley’s Callum Simpson hasn’t only secured home advantage for his challenge for Zak Chelli’s British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles, the unbeaten 27 year old will get the chance to win the famous old belts at the home of his favorite football team. 

The decision was quickly made to take the fight to the challenger’s hometown but with capacity at Barnsley’s Metrodome Arena limited to around 1,100,  Boxxer gambled and elected to take the fight to the home of Barnsley Football Club, Oakwell. The ring will be placed in front of the stadium’s East Stand and a crowd of around 7,000 is expected on August 3.  

Richard Riakporhe secured home advantage for his WBO cruiserweight title fight with Chris Billam-Smith but the support of the 15,000 or so fans inside Selhurst Park meant little once the first bell rang.

Riakporhe couldn’t figure out a way to be effective against the smart, rugged Billam-Smith and his big night petered out as he suffered a wide decision defeat on a cold, frustrating evening in South London. 

Simpson’s fans will buy tickets for what they assume will be a coronation but he doesn’t feel like the weight of expectation will impact his performance. 

“This fight’s been talked about for a long time. I’ve been asking for a fight with Zak Chelli since I won the area title and I was mandatory for the English title so that’s a couple of years ago now,” Simpson, 14-0 (10 KOs), said during a day of pre-fight promotion with Sky Sports.

“It’s a privilege. I’ve worked way too hard not to enjoy this moment and I’ve put a lot of hard work into where we are now. I think I’m very cool headed and well rounded. I’m not gonna let emotion get the best of me. I’ll stay focused and chilled and just enjoy it and soak it all up.”

Chelli, 15-2-1 (7 KOs), won the titles by beating Jack Cullen at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in January and the Londoner must once again venture north to make the first defense of his belts. 

Chelli can be inconsistent but when he hits his stride, he can be a tricky, unorthodox puzzle to solve. The heavy-handed Simpson has seen the Londoner at close quarters and hasn’t been impressed by what he has seen. 

“To be honest, I’ve been very underwhelmed when I’ve been sat at ringside,” he said. “When I was sat watching the Cullen fight, I was smiling because I thought, ‘Whichever of these two wins, I beat them both anyway.’ That’s not me being cocky and saying it’ll be easy, I know for a fact that Chelli is very confident. He trains hard and has a lot of heart.

“We know he’s strong and fit but with him, I think it’s more the awkwardness that he brings. Me and my team have done a bit of studying on him and we know how to beat him.”