THERE is no doubt in Luke Watkins’ mind that he is up to the test awaiting him when he faces Ian Tims for the Irish cruiserweight title next month.
The bout was confirmed earlier this week as unbeaten Watkins looks for his 11th straight victory when he fights on the undercard of Lee Haskins’ IBF world bantamweight fight with Ryan Burnett in Belfast.
Watkins, 27, is deep in the midst of his training camp for the fight, which has been on the cards since he stopped Jiri Svacina in the fourth round at the Oasis Leisure Centre back in April.
And while Watkins is keen to get his first senior belt in his clutches, he knows that he cannot concentrate on the prize heading into the contest.
“I’m excited,” he said.
“Title fights are eye openers, they are doorways to bigger and better things.
“It’s nice to have a title on the line but at the end of the day, it’s not always about the titles.
“I think it is great, they can show a sense of achievement but the be all and end all isn’t about them. It’s about two men, fighting, doing what they love and earning a living from it.”
Tims, who is 10 years Watkins’ senior, has already had the now vacant Irish title to his name previously, when he beat Michael Sweeney back in 2011.
And with Watkins leaving the working out of his opponent to his co-driver and trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick, the Swindon boxer knows that he can best his opponent should he bring his A-game to the ring.
“Ian Tims is a hard man, he is a tough man but other than that, a man is just a man,” he added.
“He is the same as me so as long as the best version of Ian Tims turns up and the best version of myself turns up, we’re going to have a good fight.
“I think it is a great test but I believe I am going to pass the test.
“(Concentrating on Tims) is my coach’s job, to look at what Tims will bring on the day.
“We always say that boxing is like rally car driving, you’ve got someone driving the car but you have the passenger who steers the way and guides you and that is exactly the way I have been treating boxing from day one.