Peterborough middleweight Cello Renda has got the big fight he wanted.
Renda told the Peterborough Telegraph he was keen to get back in the ring after spending most of 2015 on the sidelines.
And a few days later, manager Jon Pegg rang to offer him a fight with Ben Wilkes in Birmingham on Saturday, March 5.
The fight at the NEC, to be screened live on Sky Sports, could be an eliminator for either the English or British title.
“This is a great fight for me,” said Renda, inactive since he reached the final of ‘Prizefighter’ last February. “This is just what I needed. I’m really, really chuffed. Beating Wilkes will put me in the title picture.”
Wilkes is a 29 year-old from Wolverhampton who has nine wins from 10 fights (one inside the distance).
He made headlines by shedding six stones before turning professional, then posted six straight wins before running into Janis Cernauskis and being stopped in three rounds.
Wilkes was out of the ring for five years after that and since returning, he’s posted three low-key wins over journeymen.
Renda admits he’s surprised Wilkes - trained and managed by Errol Johnson - has picked a fight with him.
“It’s a weird one,” said Renda. “He’s only boxed journeymen and this is a big step up for him. He must think that because he’s 29 years old, he needs to push on and probably sees me as a stepping stone.
“There are easier fights for him out there. I can’t really get my head round why he wants the fight.”
Though Wilkes comes from Wolverhampton - a short drive from Birmingham - Renda expects to be well supported.
He said: “I’m the away fighter, but I’m going to feel like the home fighter.
“I train in Birmingham and all the lads from the gym should be there cheering me on.
“I’m just happy to be fighting again - and fighting on Sky. At this stage of my career, I want the big fights on TV.”
The targets for Renda this year are the British and Commonwealth titles.
Nick ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell looks set to defend his British title against Chris Eubank jr and the vacant Commonwealth belt is up for grabs when Tommy Langford and Lewis Taylor clash in Liverpool on February 13.
Renda says he’s contacted Langford, unbeaten in 15 fights, to ask for sparring.
Tickets for the show in Birmingham are available from 07947-106116.