For a few short weeks, it looked like Harry Scarff had finally become a major beneficiary of the boxing business that has kept him on the outskirts for so long.

Last November, Scarff did his part by beating Ekow Essuman to win the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles and earn himself a high ranking with the IBF.

Then, the sanctioning body rewarded his efforts by ordering a world title final eliminator between Scarff and Ukraine’s Karen Chukhadzhian.

When Scarff’s promoter, Wasserman, won the purse bids to stage the fight, it seemed like the stars had finally aligned at the perfect time for the 30-year-old from Derby, England.

It wasn’t to be. Boxing politics mean that if Scarff is to earn the right to fight Jaron Ennis for his IBF title, he will need to beat Chukhadzhian in Hamburg, Germany, on Friday first.

The disappointment quickly passed.

Scarff has been in the away corner for all of his big fights, and although he would have liked to walk out in a familiar arena filled with recognizable faces on the most crucial night of his career, none of that matters now.

The most important part of the deal is still in place, and Scarff (13-2, 3 KOs) has the fight that he has always dreamt of.

“The purse bids were won by Wasserman, and we were looking forward to it taking place locally,” Scarff told BoxingScene. “It hasn’t worked out like that. I think they were struggling for a date and a venue to match up with the TV dates, and their side was pushing and pushing and appealed to the IBF, and it went from there. I’m just happy to get it sorted at this stage. I’ve kept my head down, kept training and I’m just ready to go now.

“It seems to be the Harry Scarff way doesn’t it? I can’t wait for this one, though. I’ll take this opportunity.”

Scarff’s ‘Horrible Harry’ nickname is one of the sport’s more eye-catching ring monikers, but although it suited him down to the ground during the early part of his career, these days it does a disservice to his boxing ability. The technicalities of Scarff’s game are hidden inside the type of angular frame that makes it look like every collision of bone on bone hurts. Scarff isn’t a dirty fighter, but should the situation demand it, he is more than capable of grinding out an ugly, hard win.

An inexperienced Scarff suffered a couple of early-career defeats to Anthony Fowler and Troy Williamson during his time as a junior middleweight, but since dropping down to 147 pounds two years ago, he has been excellent. A virtual shutout over Louis Greene looks even better considering the way Greene has been competing at junior middleweight recently, and his title-winning decision over Essuman last November was a textbook demonstration in how to tame, negate and then dominate an unbeaten, all-action champion. 

Despite having to travel to Germany, Scarff is going to rely on his ability to adapt to the challenge in front of him rather than adopting a more aggressive approach in an attempt to impress the judges.

“I’m just gonna be me. I think that’s the best way to be,” he said. “It’s the way I’ve always approached big fights, and in general, that’s the way I like to be. I like to have a look at you and then really get hold of them and drag them into deep waters where they don’t want to be. I’m big, fit and strong at this weight. I’ve got an awkward style, I can fight both ways. It’s a hard night for anyone.

“It makes it hard for people to prepare for. I’ve got multiple strings to my bow and I feel like I can work things out and deal with it as I need to.”

Chukhadzhian is known to boxing fans for going the distance with the outstanding Ennis in a previous mandatory challenge for the IBF title. Chukhadzhian, 28, was resilient, but he caused Ennis few issues and went down in a landslide points defeat last January.

Scarff is expecting a different version of Chukhadzhian on Friday night. The Ukrainian Chukhadzhian will clearly hold him in much lower regard than Ennis, and with such a big prize on offer, he seems sure to box an entirely different type of fight.

Scarff has examined Chukhadzhian’s style and CV, and hasn’t unearthed anything that has caused him to have sleepless nights in the build-up. In fact, it could be argued that his victory over Essuman trumps any of the 23 welterweight wins on the Ukrainian’s record. 

“I don’t recognize anyone other than Ennis, to be honest. I’ve boxed good names in the past. I’ve got no problems with this fight at all,” he said.

“In the Ennis fight, he was on the back foot a lot. He ran around a lot that night looking to pick and poke a bit. In other fights that we’ve seen, he sets his feet a bit more. He still likes to work with angles, and he’s got fast feet and fast hands. I feel like I’ll push him onto the back foot and he’ll feel my size and strength. After that, I think I’ll just take control of the bout really. In boxing, I think if you win the exchanges, that’s a good place to start.”

The way fighters are promoted and built these days means that lots reach world level without encountering an opponent who possesses a similar level of skill and determination as them. Scarff’s journey has been different.

His 15 professional fights have been spread out over seven years, and he has developed the type of win-at-all-costs mentality that comes with being an unfashionable opponent with a couple of losses on his record.

Scarff’s mental strength can’t be questioned, and he believes that the fight with Essuman proved that he also has the ability to thrive at the highest level.

“I was quite happy with the Ekow fight,” he said. “I like how I started quite aggressively, then I got into my boxing, then he had a bit of a push and I was able to finish aggressively in the championship rounds. So I was happy with that. I think about doing that and showing multiple aspects to my game. I’ll look to do something similar.

“I think beforehand, Ekow had an IBF final eliminator rumored – albeit against a different opponent – but he was at that level. I’m more than confident that I can rise to the occasion here and take that number one spot at welterweight.”