Matty Fagan thinks 2016 will be a make-or-break year for his professional boxing dreams.
Fagan hasn’t been in the ring since his career-best victory over Adam Kettleborough last July but returns next month at Cheshire Oaks Arena and has further fights planned for Ellesmere Port in the summer and autumn.
The 27-year-old, who became a father for the first time in September when his partner gave birth to their son, explained how finances and finding out his win over Kettleborough in what was supposed to be an eliminator would not put him in direct line for a shot at the English lightweight title contributed to his inactive spell.
“I was meant to box at the end of the year and I would have been getting £400 for that but I needed to have an annual brain scan done and that would have cost me £500 so I’d have been £100 down,” said Fagan.
“I decided I wasn’t going to do that and it made sense to wait because I’m fighting in March and the plan now is to keep busy and get out again in July and September because I want to be in big fights.
“The fight with Kettleborough was supposed to be an English title eliminator but then I was told I’d have to have a final eliminator, which was okay, but then I got told I’d need another one after that which didn’t seem right.
“It has been frustrating but I’ve been training hard in the gym, the camp has gone really well and I’m feeling strong.
“There was talk of the next fight being for the IBF intercontinental belt but I think it’s going to for an area title and then if that goes well the two fights later in the year will be for titles as well.”
Fagan and fellow former Wirral Community Police Boxing Club amateur Mason Cartwright headline a hometown show on Saturday, March 26.
Cartwright, who travelled to Essex to defeat the previously unbeaten Ashley Hill on his own patch in November, will be seeking his sixth straight win and maintain his perfect start in the paid ranks.
Fagan, who has eight wins and one defeat from his nine contests, is set to take on Skelmersdale’s Steve Brogan, who has won his six fights to date, over 10 rounds.
“I boxed him as an amateur and he’s a strong kid and a bit bigger than me but I know that if I stick to my boxing then I should have enough to beat him,” Fagan said.
Meanwhile, Cartwright will face international opposition for the first time in his sixth professional contest.
The 23-year-old prospect defeated former English light-middleweight title challenger Ryan Toms in front of his home fans last summer.
Holding a perfect record of five wins from five bouts, he will be out to extend that when he takes on Hungarian Gabor Ambrus for the super welterweight Challenger title.
Ambrus hails from Pécs in south west Hungary and the 24-year-old has had nine fights, winning five, losing three and drawing one.
Four of his five wins have been via knock-out so he carries power but his three defeats have all been stoppages.
Ambrus has fought outside his homeland twice, losing to the unbeaten Italian Diego Di Luisa in Rome in June 2014 and to the promising Ted Cheesman at the O2 Arena in London last September on the undercard of heavyweight star Anthony Joshua’s devastating win over Gary Cornish.
Cartwright made his professional bow in October 2015 and won his first three fights without dropping a point, defeating Duane Green, Dee Mitchell and Kevin McCauley.
He took a huge step up in class against Toms but came through that with something to spare and then took Hill’s unbeaten record before Christmas, marking him out as one to watch over the next 12 months.
Tickets for the show – dubbed ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ – cost £40 for standard seats or £60 for ringside and are available from www.longshotssports.com.