Cessnock fighter Troy O'Meley is seven weeks away from the biggest fight of his career and, if all goes to plan, an Australian title.
O'Meley meets Australian Super Welterweight champion Adrian Rodriguez at the East Cessnock Bowling Club on Saturday, March 7.
"When they said my next fight is for the Australian title I thought 'sweet, I'll probably have to go up to Queensland or somewhere like that', but to get at Cessnock is incredible," O'Meley, who is undefeated in his 10 professional fights, said in a rare break from training.
"How good is it to get it at home. I didn't think I was going to get the Australian title at home.
"The club is only a short walk from my home. My last fight I walked up there had the fight and walked home. It's ideal."
O'Meley, 26, earned his shot at the Australian title with a unanimous points decision against Indian fighter Sagar Narwat in October in a highly successful night at the ECBC.
With an Australian title on the card, the venue is sure to be packed with fight fans from across the Hunter and from Sydney.
The 29-year-old Rogriguez, who won the title against Billy Limov in Brisbane in October, has a formidable record of 12 win, two draws and two losses. Six of those wins have come by knock out.
"He's a tough guy and I know he will definitely come to fight but I can take a punch and I'm good on my feet," O'Meley said.
"I know I'll get the job done If I go in their ready.
"I've dedicated myself for a long time for this fight. I've just got back from a month in Thailand before Christmas.
"I haven't stopped training. I'm feeling really good.
"From here it is about getting my weight right and being able to finish strongly over the 10 rounds.
"This is the start for me, it is a good stepping stone for me the Australian title.
"The ultimate goal is a shot at the world title."
O'Meley said he would be prepared for the fight to go the distance, but believed he would stop Rodriguez before the scheduled 10 rounds elapsed.
"I definitely don't think it will go the distance, I've been training hard and we've got a good plan," he said.
"The two things I know are that I'm not going to lose and it's not going to go the distance.
"I have a knock-out punch and I've been working very hard on my body shots, but we'll see how it goes on the night."
Fight promoter Rob Fogarty, from Steel City Boxing, said Rodriguez would be O'Meley's toughest challenge to date but he was confident the Hunter fighter would prevail.
"I've seen this guy fight before, Troy will have a hard time knocking him over," Fogarty said. "In saying that I think he can, but it's no walk in the park.
"If he wins this, he'll defend it once and start to fight for regional titles."
Fogarty said O'Meley was the hardest working fighter he had encountered and would do the Hunter proud.
"I don't know if I've seen any boxer that is so dedicated to the sport," he said.
"There's no one who trains harder than him.
"Even during the Christmas break he was still training every day. That's whey he deserves everything that he gets.
"We have one problem with Troy and that's trying to get him to back off from training.
"Just like you have to turn off a car every now and then, Troy has got to learn to slow it down sometimes.
"Going the the distance is never an issue with Troy, he goes the same pace in round one as in round 10.
"He is improving every fight this is definitely the step up he needs and the fight to see where he is at.
Tickets for the fight are on sale at East Cessnock Bowling Club. General standing are $40, reserved seating $60 and VIP catered tables of 10 are $2000.