LUKE ‘The Duke’ Watkins insists he can establish a platform for himself this year after labelling 2018 as a period of learning.

The 29-year-old cruiserweight suffered defeats to Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain last year, and will start his 2019 campaign by fighting Ossie Jervier at the Oasis Leisure Centre in his hometown, Swindon.

Watkins, by his own admissions, was convincingly beaten by former Commonwealth gold medallist Okolie, but fared far better against Chamberlain and could have stolen the decision if not for a barrage of pressure in the final seconds from his opponent.

The Swindon fighter moves into 2019 remaining confident in his own ability and says he can take all the lessons from last year to improve himself as a fighter.

Watkins said: “Last year was, let’s call it a learning year.

“The fight against Lawrence Okolie was the worst performance of my career against one of the best prospects in the world, so I’m not going to dwell on it because that can sometimes happen in boxing.

“The fight against Isaac (Chamberlain) – a lot of people had me winning that fight, so it just proves the level I’m at and the level I’m performing at.

“But boxing is boxing, and the last 10 seconds just fell in his favour.

“I need to build on and recognise the positives of what I’ve been through emotionally, mentally, physically and build on that.”

Watkins is scheduled to fight British boxer Jervier on the Mark Neilson and Paddy Fitzpatrick promoted Fight Town 1 show on April 27.

Jervier’s record is far from exemplary at 6-7, while ‘Duke’s’ professional fighting history received its first red marks last year – the 29-year-old now stands at 13-2.

The Swindon resident said it is impossible to tell how opponents are feeling ahead of fights, but has backed his own experience of focusing on the good times to pull him through his first fight of 2019.

Watkins said: “You don’t know what’s going on in other people’s minds, but the only thing I do know is that if you focus on negativity it will bring negativity.

“If you focus on positivity and being positive, it will bring positivity.

“When you wake up, you’re in a bad mood and something goes wrong straight away, you end up having a bad day, because that’s all you focus on – the rubbish.

“If you can try to forget that and focus on the good, more good will come.”

Fight Town I will also feature a host of stars from Paddy Fitzpatrick’s Ferndale Road gym.

Sam ‘Sniper’ Smith, Ryan Smith and Bec Connolly will feature as three of the show’s main stars on the proposed 15-bout card.