THIS is the first time I’ve written this column as the British super-bantamweight champion – and it feels great.
My victory over Jason “Too Smooth” Booth, who has fought for world titles, at the Reebok was the best night of my career so far and I couldn’t believe how everything went perfectly.
In fact, I couldn’t believe it full stop. It took about a week and a half to sink in that I was the new British champion.
I watched the fight back a few times and it just didn’t seem real. I grew up watching Fight Night on Sky, all the build-up and drama, and for me to be in the middle of that, on TV, was weird.
But it’s sunk in now and it feels amazing. My confidence has soared and the support I’ve had from the people of Bury has been incredible. There was a lot of it before the fight but, since I won, the number of people who have stopped me in the street and said “I watched the fight – you were brilliant” is crazy.
I want to put Bury on the map.Apart from the football team, we’ve not got a lot else, but now the town has got a British champion.
Now I want to get Bury’s name known around the world, like Amir Khan has done with Bolton. Not many people had heard of Bolton before but now they have after what Amir has done.
I’ve been back in the gym for a few weeks. In fact, I only had a week off after the fight. In the past I’ve had a bit longer off, maybe gone on holiday, but I wanted to get straight back in the gym because now I’m champion.
I know how hungry I was for that belt and now, whoever I take on in my next fight, will feel the same. I need to up my game because, if I don’t, someone will be ready to take it off me just as I was against Jason Booth.
It’s all right winning it but keeping it is the hard thing. The way to do that is to get back in the gym, keep learning and keep progressing.
I hope to be back in action in February or March. I’d love my first defence to be in Bury but I don’t think the Castle Leisure Centre is big enough, so it could be Bolton again which holds 2,000 people. Or Amir is talking about fighting back in the UK so maybe I could be on the undercard.
There was a lot of talk about a fight with Commonwealth champion Carl Frampton next but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
He was really keen before the Booth clash but he’s gone very quiet since. He was on TV before and was very confident, afterwards it was like someone had stuck a pin in a balloon.
I’ve heard he’s off to America anyway. I’m sure we’ll meet one day and then we’ll see who is the best. But, for now, I’m going down a different path – and I hope you will all be there for the ride.