RYAN FIELDS will make the second defence of the Midlands Area welterweight strap in Derby on Friday night, knowing that a win will put him within touching distance of a British title shot in the very near future.

Fields, 11-3-1 with 5 KO’s, takes on the tough test provided by Andy Keates, headlining his trainer Clifton Mitchell’s latest promotional event and he enters off the back of a tremendous performance which saw him become the first to legitimately stop Dale Miles, finishing the job inside a round.

The 25-year-old is confident that he is more than ready for whatever test Keates will put up for him and puts a lot of that down to his trainer Mitchell, who he claims is the “final piece to the puzzle”.

Fields said: “I’m expecting a tough test but I’d rather have that and come up against someone who wants a win instead of someone I have to go looking for. Andy Keates is not a big puncher, but he keeps the pressure on throughout the fight, so that’ll make me pick my shots so I will come out on top.

“I’m in good form and the Dale Miles was brilliant for me. Clifton kept saying that I would stop him early on, so I had no nerves and trusted what he said, although I didn’t expect it to be in the first round. I could he was gone after the first knockdown, as he could barely walk to the ref and there was no power in his next shot and I put it on him. It’s boosted my confidence so much.

“Clifton has been great for me as well and he is the final piece to the puzzle as far as I’m concerned. There’s loads of awkward fighters in the gym, so I get great sparring, which I’ve never really had before and I’m more than prepared than I ever have been.”

Fields, providing he gets past Keates, is setting his sights on an attempt at the British title, as he is certain that current champion Bradley Skeete, who holds the Lonsdale belt outright will be vacating in the near future. Fields claims that regardless he has his eye on the English title.

The Belper man has challenged for the English title before, when he was stopped by Johnny Garton last May in four rounds. He puts that defeat down to his own mistakes and is adamant it will be a different story next time around, if there paths cross.

Fields insists he is enjoying life as a pro now and considers himself a bit of an overachiever and is hoping to capitalise on the success he has enjoyed so far, starting with a win over Andy Keates.

“I’m confident that Skeete is going to vacate. He’s got the belt for keeps, so I’m not sure why he is hanging on to it… I have got to beat Keates though to keep my name in there.

“It would be nice to win the English though, especially after last time where I was so under prepared. If I was with Clifton and sparred more than eight rounds to prepare then I’m absolutely convinced I would have beaten Garton hands down.

“The event got to me in that fight and to be honest, if it had gone longer, I was tiring and too fired up, so he would probably have stopped me anyway. Now I’m doing this properly and I’m taking my time more, not going at 100mph like I used too and I know I can get the job done later in a fight now.

“When I turned pro, I said to my manager Dave Coldwell, who is brilliant at what he does, that I would see how far I can go. I was prepared to go on the road and do it the hard way and I have gone further than I thought I ever would. So why not see how far I can go. I genuinely can’t wait for this fight on Friday and then whatever happens next, I’m ready for it.”