If some people are being taken in by Christopher Lovejoy’s perfect record, Dave Allen is not one of them. The two of them clash in a heavyweight encounter on Saturday, but Allen says Lovejoy will not even last a round.

“The heavier the better for me,” Allen said. “He is a big man, I don’t think he has been 16-and-a-half stone since he was 12. I don’t think he is 350 he likes to play games. I’m hoping he is 450, the slower the better. 

“I’ve always believer that anyone in the world who will stand with me, I will beat. If he goes around at over 20 stone, I don’t see how he gets out of the first round. That is not me being over-confident, that is me looking at it for what it is.  He has done 21 rounds, he has never been in with anybody any good, looking at his record. He doesn’t last a round with me. I’d be very surprised if he did.

“People say it will be a good result if you beat him, but if I don’t stop him, I don’t deserve to be anywhere near the top 15, I won’t deserve to be near the top 50.

“Looking at it for what it is, he’s a novice pro. All the pressure is on me and I don’t mind it because I think he is way out of his depth.”

Allen has had to deal with his detractors too, but he believes he is on the way up now. Since switching trainer to Jamie Moore he has never been fitter, while a spell in Ukraine sparring Usyk has given him added confidence. If he beats Lovejoy, he could take his WBA ranking and can even see himself one days facing Manuel Charr for their “regular” heavyweight title.

“In terms of experience, I have never been in a better place,” he said. “I have still only had 35 fights amateur and pro. The sparring with Usyk brought me on again. I genuinely think I am a top 25 heavyweight now. I’ve got a confidence about me now.  

“He’s very good. I could tell he was good because when I was sparring I could feel myself learning.

“Usyk hit me with a straight left to the body. On the Monday he hit me with it, on the Wednesday he hit me with it and on the Friday he hit me with it. On the second Monday, I hit him with a straight right to the body and looked at him and started laughing and then he started laughing. 

“He didn’t understand a word I was saying, but I said ‘I got that from you’ and he nodded. He was so good, he was teaching me how to throw a right hand to the body. He may be the best fighter I have ever shared a ring with.”

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.