Peterborough cruiserweight Karl Wheeler admits next month’s title fight is win or bust.
The 33 year-old meets Biola Kudus for the vacant International Challenge Belt at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday, March 19.
Kudus last week made it five wins out of five in Brighton with a four-round points win over Jevgenis Andrejevs.
Wheeler says he has to end the Portsmouth puncher’s unbeaten record - or his career is over.
He said: “If I lose this fight, I’m retiring.
“I want to be fighting for English and British titles and if I can’t beat this guy, that’s not going to happen.
“I could carry on boxing for another six or seven years, but I don’t want to be a journeyman who fights for a few quid here and there.
“I want to be bringing belts back to Peterborough and I want the kids in the gym to look up to me.”
Wheeler is currently running boxing classes for children and adults at the Immortal 365 Gym in Orton Southgate on Monday nights - and says he’s determined he will have a belt to show his pupils following next month’s fight.
Wheeler gets his title shot despite a shock defeat in his last fight.
He was outpointed by Yavor Marinchev at the York Hall in February - and insists there won’t be a repeat performance next month.
Wheeler, sponsored by Global Self Drive, Maximum Nutrition, Bore Hole Solutions, Apex, Barkingheads, Layla’s Lengths and Logic Security, said: “I’ve been working hard in the gym to put right what I did wrong in my last fight.
“I wasn’t letting my hands go, I tried to fight when I should have boxed and I took too many punches.
“I watched the fight back and thought: ‘What on earth was I doing in there ?’”
Given his flat performance, it’s possible Wheeler over-trained for the fight and looking ahead to next month’s title challenge he said: “I’m doing everything right in the gym and I’m getting my rest.
“I’ve learned that it’s important to have a rest day.
“I feel full of energy and ready to go. If I feel this good and I lose, there’s really nowhere for me to go in boxing. This fight is win or retire for me.
“I’m going to be the best Karl Wheeler I can be and I certainly think the best Karl Wheeler beats the best Biola Kudus.”
As always, Wheeler, trained and managed by St Ives-based Stephen Whitwell, will be well supported in the East End of London.
He only has a few tickets left to sell for a show that features four title fights, including Wheeler’s stablemate Tyler Goodjohn meeting Johnny Garton for the English welterweight championship.
Wheeler reports his mother Mary has been busy selling tickets for him.
He said: “Mum is definitely my number one fan. She sells tickets for me, comes along to every fight - and then can hardly bear to watch!”
Tickets for the show at the York Hall are available from 07398-750739.