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Outright ambitions for Ashley

KING OF HIS DOMAIN: Theophane celebrates win

BRITISH LIGHT-WELTERWEIGHT champion Ashley Theophane put aside world title aspirations in order to win the Lonsdale belt outright and on December 10 he will move one step closer to achieving that dream.

The 31-year-old from Kilburn, north London makes the second defence of his title against Nigel Wright at the Peterlee Leisure Centre in Sunderland and two more victories would ensure that he can permanently put the coveted championship on his mantelpiece.

Discussing the possibility of achieving this long-term goal, Theophane, who has fought in America, Germany and St Lucia, told the Voice of Sport:

“To win the Lonsdale belt outright would mean a hell of a lot to me. When I’m in America and people ask what I’ve done I always like saying I’m the British champion.

“My parents are from the Caribbean but I was born here so I’m British-Caribbean. I’m proud to say I’m the king of my domain.”

Nicknamed ‘Treasure’, Theophane – who has a fight record of 30 wins (eight K.Os), four losses and one draw - defeated Delvin Rodriguez, who was ranked number three in the world by the IBF, in July 2010 up at welterweight. This put him in position for a potential world title shot.

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However, after winning the British title in February Theophane decided that he wanted to keep the prestigious belt and therefore put his world title plans on hold.

“When I got the call to fight the British champion Lenny Daws I was world number four then. It was like a detour because I was on the verge of a world title shot,” explained Theophane.

“I was supposed to fight Lenny three years ago when I won a British title eliminator so it felt like unfinished business. So I said to myself I will have this one fight with Lenny then I’m going to go back to America.

“But when I beat Lenny and I had the belt I wanted to keep it so I took a year out of my world title ambitions and just (concentrate) on getting the three wins to keep the belt.”

“I don’t really mind taking a year out because where the British boxing fans don’t really know me it’s given them a chance to know me.”

The aforementioned failure to secure a British title match-up after stopping Alan Bosworth in the seventh round of a British title eliminator back in January 2007 led to a disillusioned Theophane relocating to America.

Despite the British championship setback, Theophane sees the move to the States as a blessing in disguise.

“Going over there was the best thing for me,” said Theophane.

“When I’m over there I just get a good vibe. You see so many world-class boxers from all over the world going there to try and be the best. When it comes to sparring, it’s always competitive because everyone’s on their own grind. It’s brought out the best in me.

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“Now that I’ve come back, to me, no one in British boxing can beat me. If the establishment wants to give me the props or not, it doesn’t matter because my record shows what I’m doing. I’m going all over the world and I’m winning fights. It’s only Amir Khan who’s doing that, (Carl) Froch who’s doing that and David Haye who done that.”

Fellow British light-welterweight Khan is also in action on December 10. The Bolton pugilist defends his IBF and WBA titles against Lamont Peterson in Washington D.C and while Theophane’s immediate objective is retaining his Londsdale belt, fighting for world title honours still remains the ultimate goal.

Theophane added: “I want to fight any of the champions, any of the top boxers. Amir Khan’s boxing next – I’d like to fight him, Peterson, (Marcos) Maidana, any of those guys.

“What Amir Khan’s doing now, boxing the best in the world, that’s what I’m trying to do. That’s my agenda.”

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