Wycombe boxer Ben Smith is in bullish mood ahead of this weekend's light-welterweight contest against Lee Connelly at York Hall on Saturday.

Smith, 22, has won eight fights out of eight heading into the bout at the iconic arena against Sheffield's Connelly and admitted there is some extra spice to the encounter.

Last year, Connelly pulled out at the last minute from a scheduled bout with Smith, which left the promising young boxer without a fight for a year.

Now, Smith explained that because of that issue the fight carries some extra "needle" and he is confident he will make nine wins from nine professional starts.

He said: "There is an extra edge to the fight.

"He [Connelly] pulled out at the last minute last time and I couldn't fight for a year so that didn't help at all.

"That kind of threw all my plans out of the window and the year out took a bit away from me so there is some real needle there.

"I am as ready as I have ever been and can't wait to get out there and show what I can do."

Since his last fight in November, Smith has been with a new coach and commented that there has been a huge improvement since changing coaches.

He added: "I have been with Barry Smith for a few months now and he has been brilliant.

"There has been a huge improvement with everything. I am a better boxer, sparring sessions have been fantastic and I am fitter than I have ever been.

"I have been in the gym for the last 16 weeks and the fitness is there. I don't want to do my last coach down but Barry has been amazing for me and everything has gone so well."

After the clash against Connelly, Smith explained that he is eyeing a title but perhaps at a different weight.

He said: "I am doing 10st 2lbs for this fight so I am pretty much a light-welterweight but the aim after this is to drop to 9st 9lbs and aim for a lightweight title in the Southern Area.

"Like I said, I am in the best shape of my life and hopefully I can show everyone what I can do on Saturday."