British super-featherweight champion, Sam Bowen, has goaded his local rival, Lyon Woodstock, by claiming “Fighting you would be going back to area level”.
Bowen will make the first defence of his British title when he squares off against Ronnie Clark at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on February 23.
Woodstock will also see action on the same card, in his first outing since losing out to Archie Sharp in a closely contested affair last October.
While the local rivalry is something fans are keen to see, Bowen insists that Woodstock must prove himself first.
“Unless he can beat a world champion, I’m not that interested in fighting him,” said Bowen. “I was before because it would have been a good fight, but that is Midlands area. I’m out of that.
“A fight against Woodstock would have been a natural in the past, but he has been beaten by Archie Sharp.
“To be fair, I am looking beyond these fights. To me, that would be a step-down. I want to be stepping up.
“We have offered him the fight in the past. At a press conference my manager, Carl Greaves asked him; ‘Do you want to fight, Bowen?’ He wasn’t really giving an answer.
“Now he has been beaten; I suppose he will want to fight me more because he hasn’t got many more options.
“He has got to build himself back again and get into the mandatory position to fight me, but by the time he has done that I want to be way, way above.”
Now ranked number ten by the WBO, Bowen is keen to mix it up with the divisions elite and get a shot at Masayuki Ito’s world title.
“I don’t want to stay at this level for too long. It took us such a long time to get the British title shot because of withdrawals that I don’t want to hang around.
“World champions like Miguel Berchelt, Tevin Farmer, Gervonta Davis and Masayuki Ito are pure quality and fights like that can help secure my future.
“I am in this to provide for my family. I don’t want to be boxing for smaller amounts. I have a job where I earn okay.
“The idea is to get some big fights financially. To do as well as I can and make as much money as I can.”