LUKE Watkins has admitted to nerves before his homecoming fight against Ossie Jervier on Saturday, but insists ‘nerves keep people alive’ and has vowed to ‘dismantle’ his opponent.
‘Duke’ Watkins is fighting on the card of Fight Town 1 at Oasis Leisure centre in what will be his seventh bout in the town of his birth, but his first in two years since a number of high-profile fights in London, Belfast and Leicester.
The Swindon-born fighter takes on fellow Brit Jervier who holds a record of 6-7-0 with five of his victories coming courtesy of a knock-out while the 37-year-old cruiserweight has only been knocked out three times himself.
Watkins comes into the bout with a record of 13-2-0 – the two losses coming in his two most recent fights against Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain – and is keen to battle through the combination of nervousness and excitement to get back on the winning trail this weekend.
He said: “I always get nervous before every fight, no matter how big or how small, I treat them all the same and I do keep the same level of professionalism throughout.
“The nerves are there, they’re normal, I’m used to them. I’ve had them for five years and I hope they remain for the rest of my career.
“Nerves keep people alive.”
The 29-year-old warned those fans who believe he is set for an easy ride to think again before turning the focus back to his own attributes.
Watkins remains confident of a win and explained where he feels he can do the most damage to his opponent.
“I’ll hurt him to the head, and I’ll hurt him to the body,” said Watkins.
“Look, he’s a strong opponent, he fell short at the higher level, but he’s no mug and he’s definitely coming to win.
“I’m not too concerned about his weaknesses, I’m more focused on my ability and what I’m capable of. I’ll use that to dismantle him.”
Saturday’s bout will mark exactly six months since Watkins was beaten on points by Isaac Chamberlain at the Copperbox Arena in London.
The Swindon man does not feel he will be rusty at all as he has continued training for his upcoming fight for months, and is keen to begin forming some momentum ahead of a busy year.
Watkins went on to explain how much it means to him to be be able to fight in his home town once again.
He said: “I want a win. It’s a privilege and an honour for me to fight at home in front of a home crowd and my home fans.
“I love that, that is like crème de le crème for me. It’s so important for me to be able to do it back here at home.
“I also want to pick up some momentum again.
“I feel like I’ve been out of the ring too long, way longer than I would like, but sometimes that happens.”