SWINDON boxer Luke ‘The Duke’ Watkins will fight in his home town for the first time in two years when headlining the Fight Town One show at the MECA on March 23.

Watkins, who will fight on Matchroom Boxing’s card at the O2 in London on February 2 prior to his homecoming, experienced a learning-curve 2018 – losing high-profile bouts against Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain.

The 29-year-old was knocked down by Okolie, who afterwards claimed the British Cruiserweight title from Matty Askin at Wembley Stadium.

The Paddy Fitzpatrick-trained fighter then suffered a narrow points decision defeat to Chamberlain at the Copper Box Arena in October, with Watkins now confirming that he will return to Swindon to fight on the inaugural ‘Fight Town’ at the MECA in March.

With an attractive record of 13 wins – nine by knockout – and two losses, Watkins will no doubt be seeking a confidence-boosting win in his home town.

And trainer Fitzpatrick revealed there was no stopping Watkins in his quest to fight in Swindon following a two-year absence.

He said: “Duke’s last five fights have been on the road, so this is his first home fight in a while.

“To have both Luke and Ryan (Martin) on the show is a big deal.

“After Luke’s Matchroom fight at the O2, he will be out on March 23 – he was insistent on it. He told me that he had to be on the show.

“He knows that everyone has been so supportive to him, and he wants to come home and say thank-you to everyone at home by boxing in Swindon.

“They’ve gone to Belfast for him, to London and up north – he wants to be able to fight in front of his home crowd.”

March’s card will also feature home favourites Ryan Martin, Sam Smith and Bec Connolly.

Martin’s appearance in particular will prove to be a crowd puller, according to Fitzpatrick, who has again teamed up with promoter Mark Neilson to deliver Swindon’s latest boxing show.

Fitzpatrick said: “We sold out the last event in December, so I’m sure with Luke being an addition to the show, there won’t be any problems with selling this one out.

“I don’t think we could’ve got many more people in last time, so I expect the tickets to go quickly this time too.

“Ryan will contest a 10-round fight. His last one was eight rounds.”