At some point, every fighter faces a moment when they step into the unknown.

It has been four months since Zak Miller (13-1, 3 KOs), of Ashton, U.K., was given a surprise shot at Nathaniel Collins’ British and Commonwealth featherweight titles. 

Although not many outside the North West previously would have been aware of Miller, 26, those who knew him had no doubts about his ability. The questions revolved around how he would handle the leap from boxing journeyman on the small-hall circuit to a big stage with a proven, quality champion awaiting him.

Rather than shrinking from the moment, Miller thrived. He enjoyed the press conferences and build-up, sold hundreds of tickets and then put in an outstanding performance to push Collins all the way before losing a tight majority decision.

Miller hasn’t boxed since, but that is by design. Having shown himself capable of performing at title level, he decided against dropping back down to six- and eight-round fights, instead choosing to wait for the right opportunity while concentrating on improving in the gym. Miller’s patience has been rewarded: He will face the unbeaten Lewis Frimpong for the vacant English title on June 1.

“Back in a big fight and back for a big title – that’s exactly what I wanted,” he told BoxingScene. “I didn’t wanna come back after a big fight at the Manchester Arena and go back down the ladder, shall I say. I’m back in for a meaningful title. The English title is a top one to win, so I’ll be more than ready come fight night.

Miller says he learned “loads” from the Collins fight and, if the circumstances had been right, could have returned sooner.

“I’ve been sparring top-quality people and come on in leaps and bounds again, but I didn’t want to come back for anything that wasn’t relevant to me,” Miller said. “I’ve got to be progressing. I don’t want to fight a journeyman and tick over. You’re wasting camps. The way we train at The Finest Gym, we train for titles.”

Frimpong (8-0, 0 KOs), a 33-year-old from Oxfordshire, U.K., who stands just 5-foot-3, is a former Southern Area super featherweight champion. Miller was asked about his expectations for the matchup.

“I don’t expect anything – I just expect him to turn up and get the beatdown I’m gonna give him,” Miller said, laughing. “No, I know he’s a good fighter. He might be well-rounded or whatever, but I’ll let Steve [Maylett, my trainer] watch him. He’ll come up with a game plan to beat him, and I’ll stick to those instructions and do my job. I’m fighting another undefeated fighter and I respect him for coming up here to my hometown. It’s gonna be great.”

Meanwhile, Collins, who has been campaigning at domestic and Commonwealth title level since winning the Celtic featherweight belt in 2019, has intimated that he wants to move on towards European and world level. Given how close Miller’s fight with Collins was, beating Frimpong and winning the English title would put him in prime position for a shot at any vacant title.

“Winning the English title would put me right back in the firing line for a crack at the British title again,” Miller said. “If Nathaniel does move on, then who knows? I might get that shot at the end of the year. But before all that, I’ve got Frimpong to deal with. Never mind anybody else. I’ll deal with Lewis Frimpong and we’ll worry about other fights after that.”