Local pride is at stake – O’Meara

Steve O’Meara has declared that local pride will be at stake in Friday’s light-middleweight showdown with Ryan Toms.

The two West Londoners meet at Bethnal Green’s York Hall for the unbeaten Toms’ southern-area title and the winner could be in line for a shot at the British crown.

Their fight is the chief support to the Commonwealth super-featherweight clash between Liam Walsh and Paul Appleby.

“I’ve been told the winner of our fight could fight for the British title. There’s a lot at stake, not just because of that, but in terms of local pride as well,” O’Meara told West London Sport.

“We’re both from the west London area and know many of the same people. I don’t want to let down those who are backing me.

“I’ve sold lots of tickets for this and with the support he’ll have too, this might not be the main event but it will be the main event in terms of support and atmosphere.”

O’Meara, 27, has won 13 of his 15 fights while Toms, 29, took his record to 9-0 with a fourth-round stoppage of Pat McAleese in July.

Toms looked impressive in that encounter but O’Meara believes his skill will be enough to overcome the Northolt man.

“I’ve seen him fight. He looks like he’s pretty heavy-handed and I’m not taking the fight for granted, but I do feel like it’s my fight to lose,” said O’Meara.

Toms is unbeaten in nine fights

“The training’s gone really well. I’m exactly where I want to be at this stage.

“My weight’s never too far away from light-middleweight anyway so I don’t have to shed much at all, so there’s no problem there.

“The physical side of the training is pretty much done. It’s more technical stuff now in preparation for Friday.”

The fight will mark the launch of the newly-created boxing television channel BoxNation, which next month will screen James DeGale’s European title challenge and, on 5 November, George Groves’ next fight.

Hammersmith’s Groves, recently voted Britain’s best young boxer, will take on former DeGale opponent Paul Smith at Wembley Arena.

O’Meara added: “There will be a lot of eyes on us and a lot of interest in the new channel. What a privilege to be the first fight on there.

“The new channel gives a great incentive to fighters because it means we can fight more often and get some exposure.

“As a boxer, the question you hate being asked is when your next fight is. Ideally I’d fight every month and it can get quite frustrating.

“Often you go a long time without a show being on, or there are shows up north and none in the south, and you can’t fight as often as you want to.

“A dedicated channel has to be a good thing for boxing and it’s definitely good for the boxers as it gives us more opportunities.”