RYAD MERHY isn’t best pleased that Britain’s Lawrence Okolie is getting a WBC bridgerweight title shot ahead of him.

The 31-year-old Belgian has business in the heavyweight division to handle first, however. On Saturday night (April 13) Merhy will be at the American Bank Centre in Corpus Christi, Texas to try and disrupt the world title aspirations of Top Rank’s rising star Jared Anderson, 16-0 (15).

When Merhy, 32-2 (26), spoke with Boxing News’s Andi Purewal recently he described himself as a “Bridgerweight with opportunities” and that his real ambitions lie at boxing’s newest weight class. The 224lbs division was created by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman in 2020 with the aim of bridging the gap between heavyweight and cruiserweight.

Merhy is currently the number one contender and despite thinking he would get a shot at champion Lukasz Rosanski he now must wait his turn. The unbeaten Pole will instead make the first defence of his belt on May 24 against former WBO Cruiserweight title holder Lawrence Okolie.

“Lawrence Okolie made some magic happen,” Merhy said.

“He was not in the rankings whatsoever and suddenly he’s fighting the world champion in front of me. It’s happening so let’s see how it plays out but I’m ready for the next step.”

Merhy’s résumé received a boost in December when he defeated 2016 Super-Heavyweight Olympic Gold medallist Tony Yoka in Paris. However, the Frenchman’s career is on a downward spiral and the loss to Merhy was his third in a row since Martin Bakole and Carlos Takam picked up wins against the 31-year-old.

“I’m a Bridgerweight with opportunities that I’m trying to seize,” Merhy said.

“I kicked the ass of the Olympic medallist Tony Yoka and that was wonderful, but another opportunity has come to kick the ass of some American guy. I’m very down to earth and realistic, the heavyweight division is not my weight class. I’m able to beat some of them but others are way too big for me. I put on the weight working in the gym which isn’t natural. This isn’t my weight class.

“My first choice is to become world champion in the bridgerweight division. I’m ranked number one and that’s my first goal. I hope great opportunities come in the heavyweight division but my main goal is to become world champion in the bridgerweight division.”