David Howe can bounce back from boxing obscurity to become one of the region’s top heavyweight, if he wins tonight.
The 6ft 8ins colossus has only boxed twice since 2013 and has lost two of his last three outings.
But a surprise win this evening over much-fancied Ricky Hatton protege Nathan Gorman will not only deliver him the Central Area title, but will propel him up the rankings.
Howe’s trainer Ryan Rhodes admits his man is underdog but says the opportunites that will open up if he wins can serve as an inspiration.
And with Richard Towers off the radar, Howe, 36, can perhaps challenge Rotherham’s Kash Ali for local bragging rights, he is in action on another show, tonight.
Rhodes said: “There were a lot of good heavyweights around Sheffield for a while, but they aren’t around now and David can make a statement if he wins in Stoke.
“He will be up there as the top heavyweight in the city if he can do a job on Nathan, who is being tipped for big things from the Hatton camp.”
Gorman, from Nantwich, Cheshire has five straight wins, four of them stoppages.
“He is an aggressive fighter and I don’t want David to get involved in that, just use what he has, a good long reach, good movement and if he lands that big right hand it will cause some damage.
“When you are David’s size and 18 and a half stone, anything can happen.”
Howe has never won a professional title and has a Won 11 Lost 3 record, although his last defeat, to Dorian Darch in Wales in July, could have been a draw, believes Rhodes. “David wants to be out boxing as often as possible, he is enjoying the sport again, so we’ll see what he can do.”
Ali, meanwhile, fights Wales’ Hari Miles at Bethnal Green and is hoping to move his record to 11 victories.
The 24-year-old has only boxed twice since 2014 but forced a stoppage over Paul Butlin at York Hall last time out.