FIRED-UP Nav Mansouri wants to prise open the door to bigger fights in 2020 by ending a frustrating year on a high next month.
The Rotherham fighter takes on Stephan Danyo in Rotterdam on November 17 for the WBA Continental super-welterweight title.
It's a chance for Mansouri to hit back from a stop-start 2019 that saw him lose a controversial points decision to Jorge Forte in Spain for the IBF version in March and then have a US fight debut in Cleveland called off at two days' notice.
Dutchman Danyo has 16 wins and three defeats from his 22 fights and he will have home advantage next month. But Mansouri, who eased back with a comfortable points win against Nicaragua’s Wilmer Gonzalez in the summer, is leaving no stone unturned in his preparations.
“Danyo is a good kid. He is away training in Las Vegas with Ismael Salas, the Cuban coach, and I'm in Miami training with Jorge Rubio, another Cuban who I have worked with before,” said Nav.
“I have been here training really well. I'm more focussed when I take myself away. It gives me the best chance of winning and I'm with the right person.
“The winner of this fight will get a ranking and it is in the contract that he has to defend against a top ranked fighter. It means the winner will be in the mix for the big, big fights. If I win this one you never know what could be up next, a world title eliminator or anything.
“It opens doors, phone calls can happen and I'm sure MTK, my managers, can make things happen.”
Mansouri, who has a 20-2-2 record, had been inked in to fight on the under-card of Josh Warrington's recent world title show at the Leeds Arena. It would have been the Spanish based fighter's first bout in England for two years but he had to pull out due to a contractual issue.
Mansouri's win over Gonzalez, meanwhile, was a chance to shake the American postponement out of his system.
He added: “I fought at two weeks' notice just to get it out of the way. I boxed a bit heavier because I was going through a little bit of a bad time after the postponement first happened. I was fed up and put a bit of timber on and ended up fighting at super middle. I won comfortably but now I'm back down to my normal weight for a championship fight and putting myself in the best shape ever to get the win.”