ROTHERHAM boxer Kash Ali steps back into the ring this weekend on a quest to join the giants of the heavyweight division.
The 29-year-old makes the first defence of his IBF European Title against German Roman Gorst at Sheffield's Ponds Forge Arena on Saturday.
The queue of heavyweight hopefuls behind Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua is long and it is only by racking up more wins that Ali can force himself up the pecking order.
He has won 19 out of his 20 pro contests — the only blip his infamous disqualification contest against David Price — but has since found fresh momentum working from former British heavyweight contender Richard Towers' Rotherham gym.
“I am giving myself the best chance,” said Kash. “This is the first defence of my European title and if I keep defending it then it will get me closer and closer to the big fights.
“I have done rounds with Tyson Fury, sparred with Joshua and with Dillian Whyte and they're in the top five heavyweights. Eventually I want to be in that mix.
“They're the champions so when my time comes, if they're still around or if it's somebody else, it's something I want to challenge myself to do.”
Gorst, at 32, arrives in South Yorkshire with a reputation as a banger.
He didn't turn pro until 2018 but has been busy and explosive since, winning seven of his eight contests inside the distance.
“He has something like a 90 per cent KO ratio,” said Ali. “He's been a German champion and he's in the top ten in his country and is coming in with a winning mentality. He's a decent kid.
“He can hit, so can I, so it should be a good night.”
Ali's last opponent, Czech Tomas Salek, also arrived with a reputation as a heavy puncher but was dismantled within three rounds when the two fought for the IBF belt at the Sheffield Arena in May.
A repeat would raise Ali's standing further and boost his world ranking.
He added: “I think now I'm top 20 but I want to get in that top ten and look for bigger fights.
“I'm putting in the training and when my time comes I believe I'm good enough to stay at the top and achieve the best in the sport.
“Things can go from nothing to everything, boxing is just one of those sports, but all I have to do is focus on Saturday night, win that and move on to the next one.
“Hopefully I will be out to fight again before Christmas.”
Chief support to Saturday's contest is a scrap for the British flyweight title between local favourite Tommy Frank and Birmingham's Matt Windle.
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