EYEING a title by the turn of the year, Jack Flatley is looking to extend his unblemished professional record on Friday when he hopes to have the backing of his hometown crowd.
The local lad, based at Elite Gym in Bolton, has won each of his seven middleweight matches since joining the paid ranks and will bid for an eighth when he steps into the ring at this weekend's fight night at the Macron's Whites Hotel.
His previous two matches at Wanderers' ground both ended in knockout victories – his other five fights have gone the distance – and a third stoppage would do him quite nicely as he sets his sights on winning an area belt before 2018.
"I'm buzzing to be back fighting in Bolton again," said Flatley, who takes on Doncaster's Jason 'Daddy Cool' Ball in the match. "I'm from Farnworth though I live in the centre of town now. I've had two fights at the Macron and won both times with knockouts so more like that would be good.
"I know I'll have plenty of people ringside so I'm going to be right at home. It's only 10 minutes' drive for me so there's no staying in a hotel, no travel involved, so that makes a difference – I'll just have a short drive down on the day and wait for my turn to go."
His opponent, 11 years Flatley's senior at 33 years old, has a wealth of experience but just nine wins in his 34 fights and has lost his last six bouts, last tasting victory in February 2015.
Flatley, though, has seen the quality Ball has squared up against and will not be taking anything for granted, particularly as he is going back up to a six-round match.
"I know he is a very tough fighter so it will be another step up in class for me," said Flatley, a former ABA Nationals finalist. "He has fought for Central Area and English titles in the past and he has taken Chris Eubank Jnr all the way in one of his fights, so I know he is very good but I'm well prepared, I have worked hard in the build-up and I'm confident in my ability.
"It is a step up but I am 100 per cent confident. I've done everything right and my preparation has stayed the same – it hasn't been broken so it's not going to be fixed.
"In my last fight I went down to a four-rounder after having a six-round match before that. I'm happy to be back up to six rounds, I've been doing longer rounds of sparring against some top-quality sparring partners, so my preparation has been good, I'm looking forward to the fight."
Should it all go to plan on Friday night Flatley will be aiming to be in the mix for a belt within a matter of months and with his coach at Elite, Alex Matvienko, guiding him he knows his career is being well looked after.
"We have been talking about plans for the future," he added. "I trust Alex, I've been with him since 2014, so he was my coach for my last 10 or 15 amateur fights and the seven pro fights I have had so far. He's a very good coach but he is more than that, he helps me with everything. He works me hard but he's a massive help on so many fronts. He looks out for me and I know I'm in good hands.
"I'm going to take things carefully and each fight as it comes but I do want to have an area title by the end of the year. To do that I need to be fighting 10-round matches but my aim is to be a championship-level boxer by the end of this year, I won't settle for anything less. I work hard enough for it and I don't see any reason why I can't do it."