​I’m coming home with that title, vows Lee Appleyard

​LEE Appleyard is fit and ready to spring an upset and end the year as a Commonwealth boxing champion.
LEE APPLEYARD: dangerous underdogLEE APPLEYARD: dangerous underdog
LEE APPLEYARD: dangerous underdog

The Rotherham fighter takes on the unbeaten Jack Rafferty in front of his home-town crowd in Manchester on Saturday for the prized belt.

Appleyard (36) goes in as an underdog against his younger rival, who has won all 21 of his pro bouts, 12 by KO.

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But the Bramley fighter, who has come out of retirement for one last shot at glory, hasn’t put himself through another punishing fight camp to merely travel over the Pennines and opt for damage limitation.

​”All the hard work has been done now. I’m making weight,” said Appleyard, who has a 19-7 win-loss record as a pro.

"I am going there and I’m going to bring that title home. There’s no two ways about it. It is 100 per cent happening."

Appleyard was due to fight Rafferty for the lesser Silver version of the Commonwealth belt earlier in the year.

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Injury forced the Rotherham man to pull out but the highly-rated Rafferty has held true on his promise to give him another shot, only this time with the attraction of the full Commonwealth crown on the line.

It’s a huge motivation for Appleyard, a former English champion at lightweight.

For this fight will be working with Steve Nettleship, based at Ryan Rhodes’ Sheffield gym, instead of long-time collaborator Stefy Bull, but the warrior spirit remains.

Added Appleyard: "It’s the final roll of the dice for me but I don’t want to retire and no stone has been left unturned. There are weaknesses (with Rafferty) I can exploit. I| have every confidence I can produce not just a straight win but do a number on him.

"The Commonwealth Title is massive. It can open doors to bigger things.”