The Midlands light heavyweight title should be next in the offing for Josh Stokes if he can get through his first six-rounder.
He gets much-needed ring time at the Eastside Rooms, on Woodcock Street in Birmingham, as part of BCB Promotions’ closest card to Christmas, set for Thursday night (December 22).
Stokes was hoping to compete for the long-vacant area crown on the very same show, but could not find an opponent in time, although co-challengers have been approached.
No one has boxed for the belt since 2008, when defending champion Tyrone Wright outpointed Paul David to retain his standing.
Ricky Summers and Joe Sherriff were scheduled to box for the strap, in late 2017, but the contest was cancelled, leaving the title still up-for-grabs.
Stokes is next in line, but needs to get active again, having spent nearly eight months out of action, last beating Harry Matthews in April.
That was his third outing since December of last year, which saw him make a comeback after four years on the sidelines, long removed from his 2017 debut.
The 29-year-old, from West Bromwich, stands at 7-0 with two TKOs, both in two rounds, stopping Raimonds Sneidze and later retiring Jonathan Castano.
Since his last time out, the boxing scaffolder has become a father for the third time, with son Jesse joining sisters Harper and Maisie, and is engaged to fiance Lauren.
Stokes said: “I’ve had a bit of a lay-off again, due to a couple of issues, but I’ve carried on training. The new baby has kept me busy, but I’m fitter and stronger than ever.
“This fight was meant to be for the Midlands title but, hopefully, that will happen in April or May now. I might even sneak in another six-rounder, before then, if I can.
“I’ll see what options there are for me, but to go for a title has been a long time coming for me. I think that I’m ready for big fights and the Midlands is just the start of it.
“I reckon I could do the 10 rounds now, but I’ve never done six before either. I know ‘Poochi’ (Lewis van Poetsch, opponent) and he will give me some good rounds.
“I’ve had to build up towards it. Obviously, having four years off didn’t help, but I live the life of a boxer now, more than I ever have before.
“I’ve got a nutritionist (Pete Bell) and I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress this year, since I started working with ‘Ghenty’ (Richie Ghent, coach).
“I’m looking forward to having a couple of rounds to play with and I think that it will suit my style. If I catch him, I know I can hurt him, but I don’t go out looking for stoppages.”
Tickets for the Eastside Rooms bill are available, priced at £40 standard or £75 VIP ringside, directly from the boxers or by visiting myfighttickets.com