Champ Cardle fights for both his '˜homes' tonight
Scott Cardle says he will be boxing for the pride of his home-town Lytham '“ and for the people of Glasgow '“ when he defends his British lightweight title tonight.
Cardle, who faces challenger Kevin Hooper, was born and brought up on the Fylde and has an accent as thick and distinct as any home-grown Glaswegian.
The champion, who defends is title for the third time, said: “I am very proud of my home-town of Lytham, but the blood that is running through me is fully Glasgow.”
Cardle himself knows that he needs to put on a performance at the SSE Hydro with promoter Eddie Hearn echoing that sentiment.
Hearn said: “It is time for a step-up and we believe that he is going to to on a great performance.
“His trainer Joe Gallagher says that Scotty has been flying in the gym.”
Cardle’s last two defences were against Sean Dodd, both of them in Liverpool.
The first ended in dramatic fashion when Cardle pulled out a spectacular knockout in the final round.
The second meeting between the two was mired in controversy.
The fight ended in a draw with many in the partisan crowd and certainly in the Dodd camp believing their man was robbed.
The first meeting between Cardle and Dodd was on the shortlist for the vote to find the domestic fight of the year.
Cardle said of the Dodd fights: “I know they were good for the spectators, but it was not what I wanted to see from myself.
“I have a point to prove to myself and that is why I need to put on a show now.”
Cardle and Hooper know plenty about each other, having met in the gym previously.
The Lytham boxer said: “I sparred with Kevin two or three years ago and it was a tough spar, so I am expecting a hard fight.
“I am not expecting a pushover – I have trained for what I expect it to be and that’s a tough fight.”
Hooper, who will go into the ring on the Sky-televised show as the underdog, said: “This is a massive fight for me and it has been a long time coming.
“I have worked hard in my career to get to this spot, and I am looking forward to it.
“Scott is a very good fighter, I know that.
“I have got to bring my A-game, but I know I am going to be victorious.
“I am confident in my abilities.”
Cardle is happy to be defending in Glasgow; he is a Celtic FC fan and has paraded the Lonsdale belt at Parkhead.
Cardle and Hooper both weighed in at 9st 9lb.
There was some drama ahead of WBA super-lightweight champion Ricky Burns’ title defence against Kiryl Relikh when the challenger took time to make the weight.
The 26-year-old Belarusian, the mandatory challenger, weighed in at 10st four ounces, which is four ounces over the limit and was given an hour to come down. Burns weighed in at nine stones, 13 pounds and two ounces.
Relikh is under the guidance of former world champion Ricky Hatton and will climb into the ring with 19 knockouts in 21 wins.
Three-weight world champion Burns makes the first defence of the belt he won in May by knocking out Michele Di Rocco in the same arena in eight rounds.
If he comes through, the 33-year-old Coatbridge fighter could be lined up to meet four-weight champion Adrien Broner, with the Cincinnati boxer heading to Scotland for Friday’s fight.
Promoter Hearn is sure his charge will not be distracted by future possibilities.
Hearn said: “He’s a bit too experienced for that,
“You are on a bit of a hiding to nothing because not many people have heard of Kyril Relikh and he’s very dangerous.
“He knows that and he has trained like it is Adrien Broner.
“Ricky has got to use his experience, stay really disciplined, slowly break him down and I think he’ll stop him late, but it’s going to be a very tough fight.”
Cardle versus Hooper is not the only British title fight on this evening’s bill.
Dillian Whyte and Ian Lewison scrap for the British heavyweight title.
When the two met recently to promote the fight there was bad blood between the pair
But the final, pre-fight media conference saw no repeat of the war of words between them.
Meanwhile, Hearn, the promoter of this evening’s show, has predicted the boxing community will continue to rally round the grieving family of Mike Towell after pledging 24 hours of ticket sales from this evening’s promotion.
All ticket money for the show that comes through on Thursday – one week on from Towell’s fateful British title eliminator against Dale Evans – will go to support his partner Chloe Ross and their young son following his death.