ROTHERHAM arrivals Lee Appleyard and Atif Shafiq are both in confident mood ahead of their clash at the FlyDSA Sheffield Arena tomorrow night.
The ambitious pair meet on the undercard of the Kell Brook against Sergey Rabchenko show, with the prospect of a big rise up the lightweight rankings the carrot for the winner.
Appleyard (30) has relinquished his English lightweight strap to take the fight while for the Ingle-trained Shafiq (24), it is a step towards what he hopes will be a British title shot by the end of the year.
The two have sparred together before, with Shafiq considered to have the more awkward style as opposed to the heavy hitting Appleyard.
“Lee has improved but what he does is still the same,” said Shafiq. “He’s a good, solid fighter. I’ve got more in my arsenal and in my style and I can cause him a lot of problems. I feel strong physically and I’m very confident.”
Appleyard said: “Atif has to make himself awkward. He can’t have a fight with me, I’m pretty sure of that. If everything goes as well as it has done in camp and I stick to my game plan then it will be a good win for me.”
At today’s weigh-in, Atif tipped the scales at 9st 8lb 6oz and Lee slightly lighter at 9st 8lb 2oz.
The show is live on Sky Sports Box Office. Tickets: 0114 256 56 56 or in person at the Arena box office. Alternatively, visit http://www.flydsaarena.co.uk/whats-on/kell-brook-v-sergey-rabchenko-5581
Catch today's Advertiser for much more on the fight.