Cruiserweight Ellis Zorro was handed the opportunity of a lifetime on December 23 against Jai Opetaia, fighting on a big stage on the undercard to Anthony Joshua's impressive win over Otto Wallin in Saudi Arabia. 

However, the opportunity turned into a crushing defeat inside one round at the hands of the Australian Opetaia, who won with a highlight reel knockout. 

Despite the crushing defeat, when the call came for Zorro to challenge for the British cruiserweight title, it was an opportunity he didn't hesitate to take. 

Zorro (17-1, 7 KOs) faces former Olympian Cheavon Clarke (8-0, 6 KOs) in a fight for the vacant British cruiserweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, which features on the undercard to the super-lightweight rematch between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall. 

Despite admitting that he has carried the frustrations of his defeat to Opetaia heavily on his shoulders, Zorro was surprised when the opportunity to face Clarke for the vacant British title arose.

Clarke was previously the mandatory challenger for Isaac Chamberlain's British title. Despite the best efforts of Clarke's promoter, Eddie Hearn, to make the fight between Clarke and Chamberlain, Chamberlain vacated the Lonsdale Belt, much to the annoyance of Clarke and Hearn. 

"I lost on December 23 [vs. Opetaia]. I carried quite a lot of frustration coming out of that fight because I didn't get a chance to prove what I can really do, but that's what happens,” said Zorro.

"That's world-level boxing. We're small heavyweights, and if you make mistakes, you pay the consequences. I've been in the gym since January 8. This fight wasn't really on my radar per se because of the whole Isaac Chamberlain situation [with Clarke], but I've been in the gym and staying ready, and when the phone rang, it was a yes from me.”

The 31-year-old feels fortunate to have been handed an instant return to feature on a prominent platform and is keen to make the most of his unexpected opportunity. 

"I just think off the back of boxing Jai Opetaia in Saudi Arabia, doing a six rounder… I'm not sure what that would have done for me or if I'd have been motivated for it,” Zorro said. 

“Chev [Clarke] is a good fighter; he brings the action, brings the heat, so it's a good fight for me to get my teeth into, and it's the British title. In a sense, I am kind of lucky to be coming off a loss and fighting for the British title, so I was never going to say no to that.”