LUKE ‘Duke’ Watkins will fight former Southern Area contender Ossie Jervier at the Oasis Leisure Centre as part of the Fight Town I card on April 27, promoter Mark Neilson has confirmed.
The 29-year-old, who last year lost bouts to Isaac Chamberlain and Lawrence Okolie, will fight in his hometown for the first time in two years when going toe-to-toe with the London-born cruiserweight.
While Jervier’s record stands at six wins and seven defeats, his five victories by knockout underline the capabilities of Watkins’ latest opponent.
And Neilson insists Watkins must be on top of his game if he is to record a first win since beating Mike Stafford at the Leicester Arena in December 2017.
“Ossie Jervier is dangerous,” said Neilson.
“We didn’t want to bring in a foreigner that is likely to fall over in four rounds, Duke is at championship level now and needs fights like this.
“Ossie is ranked in the high teens at cruiserweight level, whereas Luke is eighth.
“But, in reality, I think he is top five.
“If you’re Ossie Jervier, you’ll be thinking ‘I fancy this, I’ve fought big names before, and Luke has been stopped in a couple of fights’.
“This is an opportunity for Ossie to mix back in with some of the big fights, it’s like a title fight for Ossie.
“Luke is aware of that and will be training for this like it’s a big fight – which it is.
“Ossie has fought Isaac Chamberlain and fought for the Southern Area twice, he is of decent calibre and will fancy the fight.
“He’ll want to leapfrog Luke in the rankings, there is a lot of change in the weight division this year.”
Jervier has a four-round fight scheduled for tonight (Saturday) against Rhasian Earlington at Kings Hall in Stoke-on-Trent.
Victory there would end a two-fight losing run for the 37-year-old, who made his professional debut only three years ago.
Watkins meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum.
Neilson added: “When these guys are doing their apprenticeships or completing their education, they’re fighting guys where you can predict what will happen.
“Luke is past that stage now, he needs to be making statements. He will want to deal with Ossie Jervier in a decisive fashion to show the sport where he is.
“But, Ossie is coming to fight and is a lively opponent.
“He won’t be aiming to just get through the rounds.”