BASINGSTOKE boxer Dean Francis is banking on getting plenty of local support after it was announced that his attempt to claim a British title will take place in Reading.

The 40-year-old will take on Bob Ajisafe for the vacant British light-heavyweight title at the Rivermead Leisure Complex on Saturday, March 15.

Francis said: “It is very exciting news for me and I’m really happy to be able to bring the fight close to Basingstoke. I wanted the fight to be in Reading because I wanted to come back home to where it all started for me.

“It’s been a while coming, and I have felt like I am in a state of suspended animation at times, but it will be great to be back on the big stage. I am really excited about the future.”

More good news for Francis is that the fight will be shown live on Channel 5.

“It’s fantastic that Channel 5 are going to show the fight,” he added. “Not only does it get my name out there, but having the bout on terrestrial television also makes it available to people who are not able to get to the show.”

Francis’ showdown against Leeds fighter Ajisafe had been due to take place in November – but the bout had to be cancelled when the two-time British champion went down with a freak injury, a blister on his hand getting infected.

“I am completely over that now and ready to go,” he said. “The illness just took me out of the gym for a couple of weeks, so there was no way I would have been in condition to fight 12 rounds.”

Tickets start at £35 and can be bought by ringing the box office on 01179 496699.

Two other north Hampshire boxers, Darryl Still and Matt Goddard, are in action at Southampton Guildhall on Saturday, March 22.

Their opponents have yet to be confirmed but tickets can be purchased from Still on 07584 994624 or Goddard on 07803 837129.