BASINGSTOKE boxer Dean Francis says he is in better shape than ever ahead of his British light-heavyweight title fight against Bob Ajisafe in Reading on Saturday.

Francis, pictured right, turned 40 earlier this year but is keen to prove that age is no barrier by claiming a British title for the third time in his distinguish-ed career.

Standing in his way is Leeds-based southpaw Ajisafe and, while Francis is expecting a tough encounter at Reading’s Rivermead, he is confident that he will end the evening with the Lonsdale Belt.

“The only person who can beat me is myself because I am better prepared than I have ever been,” he told The Gazette. “I am expecting an awkward fight because he is a really rangy southpaw, but I have been training harder than ever before.

“It might take us a few rounds to suss each other out but I am positive that the fight will not go the distance. Expect me to stop him any time from the fourth round onwards.”

Francis, who goes into the fight having won 34 and lost just four of his 39 fights, has an excellent record at Rivermead, having won all four of his bouts there in the past.

“Rivermead was where I had my first big fights,” he said. “I just hope that the same people who followed me back then do the same again on Saturday because I will definitely make them proud.”

The bout is one in a series making up a new competition called the Maxi-Nutrition Knockout, which will be broadcast live on Channel 5 over the course of the year.

In addition to fighting for the British title, Francis and Ajisafe will also be slugging it out for a place in the semi-finals of the competition, where they will face either Leon Senior or Tony Hill. The winner of that bout will progress to the final, with the overall champion holding both the British and English titles.

“It’s an exciting tournament to be involved in and I really feel that I am back in the big time,” Francis added. “All of the fights will be on Channel 5, which will mean great exposure for me.”

See Francis in action on Channel 5 from 10pm on Saturday night, and follow live round-by-round coverage from Rivermead at

Video courtesy of Hennessey Sports/YouTube.