Bellshill boxer Paul Brannen is looking forward to fighting abroad for the first time later this month.
Brannen has fought four times as a semi-professional on the Fight Club cards at the Alona Hotel, but leaves behind the backing of a home crowd to head to Malta on January 30.
He moves up from 60kg to 63kg to take on local fighter Keith Azzopardi with the EBF International belt up for grabs as he tries to put himself in contention for a British title shot.
Brannen, who trains at Fighting Scots Gym in Mossend, said: “This will be my first time fighting abroad and I’m looking forward to the experience, even as an amateur the furthest I got was England.
“It will be a bit different not having the crowd behind me, but I’m ready for it and I just have to focus on the job in hand as I look to get myself in position for a crack at the British title.”
Brannen has watched footage of the former kickboxer and believes he knows how to beat Azzorpardi.
He said: “I have seen some clips and he’s a pretty decent fighter, but I have spotted some mistakes he makes and will be aiming to take advantage of them.
“In previous fights I have generally relied on technique to win, but moving up in weight means I am feeling much stronger.
“I am adding more power to my punches and will aim to use that power effectively, but I’ve no worries about taking whatever he dishes out in return.”
While most were indulging over the Christmas period Brannen never let up from his training regime, showing his commitment to the sport.
He said: “Although I probably didn’t have to watch my weight I made sure to stay focused over the Christmas and New Year period. It was tough, but to do this properly sacrifices have to be made.
“I returned to the ring for the first time in seven years back in June and I’m enjoying it so much I regret ever having stopped. I have been given a second chance and as the only member of Fighting Scots going over to Malta this month the limelight is on me and I don’t want to blow it.”
Fighting Scots head coach Frank Gilluley has been very impressed with the progress Brannen has made.
He said: “Paul has been involved in some great fights since he returned to the sport and is working very hard to continue to get better.
“His strength and power are improving to match his technique and I have no doubt he’ll be successful in Malta and then go on to be a British champion.”