The battle of Belper is on.
Ring veteran Gary Beardsley and Shane Sloman have agreed to fight each other in Derby next month.
They meet for the vacant EBF Midlands Area light-heavyweight title at Rollerworld on Saturday, February 20.
They are also fighting to raise funds for ‘Dylan’s Dream,’ the charity set up to raise funds for Dylan Jones, the young boy from Derby who has a muscle wasting disease.
Q and A Structures, Sloman’s employers, have already donated £400 to the cause and both fighters will also contribute a share of the ticket money they receive.
Sloman said: “I’m friends with Gary and this fight only came about because he contacted me and said he wanted to raise money for Dylan’s Dream.
“I agreed to the fight, but I’m nervous.
“Gary has fought at a good level as a professional and having sparred him before, I know I’m going to have to get very fit if I’m going to beat him.
“He’s very fit and a good boxer and I don’t think either of us will take a backward step.
“It’s the sort of fight you could stage in a phone box !
“I have a lot of respect for Gary and what he’s achieved and I’m sure we will have a drink and a chat afterwards.”
Sloman, who missed out on a Midlands-title shot last year after his opponent weighed in heavy, added: “This is my chance to prove myself and win a title. Everyone knows what a good fighter Gary is and these are the fights I want. I don’t want to pick and choose my opponents.”
Beardsley admits he’s come out of retirement to decide who is s Belper’s best.
He said: “I was going to retire, but when you’re a fighter it never leaves you.
“I’m always in shape and I’m going to get lots of sparring so I’m sharp.
“This fight is weight against speed - and when that happens, speed usually wins.
“I hope it wins this time as well.”
Beardsley added: “I’m hoping a lot of people from Belper come along, have a great night out and help raise lots of money for Dylan’s Dream.”
Tickets for the show in Derby are available from 07722-327963.