Eimantas Stanionis said he has spent the past two years training as if he would get a call that his next fight is just six weeks away.

When that happened with this week’s announcement that he will be defending his secondary welterweight title against Venezuela’s two-time Olympian Gabriel Maestre, Stanionis declared himself ready to go.

“It was really hard,” Stanionis told reporters who assembled Thursday for a Premier Boxing Champions conference call with fighters in the pay-per-view undercard of the May 4 Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Jaime Munguia undisputed super middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs) will open the pay-per-view by defending his belt for the first time since winning it in an April 2022 split decision over Radzhab Butaev.

In the interim, he has been sidelined for multiple reasons, including when unbeaten Vergil Ortiz withdrew from a Staniosis fight due to sickness.

“[Handlers] said, ‘Next month, next month, next month.’ … I was a professional [and kept] looking forward,” Stanionis said. “I’ll be happy when I get in the ring.”

In Maestre (6-0-1, 5 KOs), Stanionis will meet a polished amateur whom he defeated by split decision in the 2015 Qatar World Cup before both fighters advanced to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Maestre pointed to his rugged, 41-year-old countryman Ismael Barroso as proof that extra experience gained in the amateurs can produce a distinguished professional, as seen in Barroso’s near upset of recently defeated 140-pound champion Rolando “Rolly” Romero.

“Unification is my goal and dream,” Maestre said in reference to the co-main-event presence of interim welterweight titleholder Mario Barrios on the May 4 card, with new titlist Jaron “Boots” Ennis being another possible future foe for the Stanionis-Maestre winner.

For Stanionis, returning to the ring starts with a humble assessment.

“No one remembers me,” he said, “[so] I will put together a terrific performance.”

For Staniosis, who used the time away to develop his skills, opening such a high-profile card is a golden opportunity to produce a convincing victory and help fill one of the vacancies in the welterweight division left by the expected moves up in weight by recently undisputed champion Terence Crawford, former three-belt champion Errol Spence Jr. and ex-titleholders Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia.

“I’ve trained very hard and I’m very hungry to get the ‘W,’” Stanionis said. “Everyone in my country asks me every time I see them, ‘When are you fighting?’ I’ve been telling them, ‘Nothing’s changed.’ I want to give those fans a great fight. I’ve improved.”