David Allen insists he is in the best condition of his fighting career as he prepares to contest his first major title.
And the evidence suggests the heavyweight joker is not pulling anyone’s leg this time around.
The Conisbrough fighter will face Jamaican Lenroy Thomas for the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title under the stars at Bramall Lane on Saturday night.
It represents a significant step in the plan of promoter Eddie Hearn, labelled ‘Operation White Rhino’, to guide Allen to at least British title glory.
And, for once in his career, Allen is taking things seriously.
“This is the best I’ve ever been in my professional boxing career – which doesn’t say a lot,” he told Sky Sports.
“But I am fit for this fight.
“I’ve been playing with the sport for so long.
“I boxed Luis Ortiz last year and I realised you don’t play with this sport.
“My tongue nearly came off. I bit straight through it and I can put my finger through the hole.
“For this fight, I’m ready.
“I’m always chubby. I’m a chubby man. But I’m fit now.
“It’s the first fight I’m going into in proper condition.”
Opponent Thomas – based in Florida – has won 20 of his 24 fights, stopping ten opponents early.
While he feels he has been presented with a winnable fight as he chases championship glory, Allen says he is not underestimating his opponent.
“It’s not an easy fight because no fights are,” Allen said.
“There’s no easy fight. If a man is a similar size to you and he’s fit and strong, it’s going to be a hard night.
“I’m not saying it’s an easy fight but it is a winnable fight for a major title.
“It’s a big opportunity.
“The Commonwealth heavyweight title is a major title.
“It’s been a brilliant bit of matchmaking by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom to give me a very winnable fight for a major title.
“I’m very happy to have this opportunity and I’m going to take it with both hands.
“If I don’t beat Lenroy Thomas, it might sound dramatic but what I am in the sport for?
“If I can’t beat Lenroy Thomas what am I really going to achieve?”
The British heavyweight title remains vacant.