Dani Hodges will be facing another step up when she looks to get back to winning ways with her ring return this weekend.
Hodges is determined to redress the balance with her first six-round contest, where she’s been paired with the unbeaten Emma McCulloch.
They feature on BCB Promotions’ show at the Venue, on Dudley high street. The afternoon offering, on July 28, has been titled ‘Sunday Service.’
It’s all part of a plan for ‘the Pocket Rocket,’ who is planning to drop down from flyweight to minimumweight where there are still world champions with the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF.
Hodges, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, is immediately wanting to bounce back from May’s points defeat to Lisa Whiteside.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Whiteside’s pro debut saw her win all of the four rounds, earning a 40-36 points success.
The bout took place on the under-card of Billy Joe Saunders’ WBO super middleweight title win over Shefat Isufi, at Stevenage Football Club’s Lamex Stadium.
A taste of the big time has given Hodges a thirst for the big stage, but first comes a potentially tricky affair again Scot McCullouch.
Her opponent was a three-time national champion as an amateur and turned over in February, outpointing Teodora Hristova by a 40-37 verdict.
Hodges’ first victory as a pro came over Hristova, after first punching for pay against Eva Naranjo in Spain two years ago.
A fourth round TKO loss wasn’t sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control, but counted on her pro record nonetheless.
Hristova, Sonia Klos, Lauren Parker and Roz Mari Silyanova have since been vanquished over-the-distance, with her ledger now standing at four wins with two defeats.
The 33-year-old has been training hard at Platinum Boxing Club in her hometown, with the gym now dedicated to the sweet science after previously teaching kickboxing.
Hodges said: “In a way, I’m sort of glad it happened. Every time I’ve been beat, I’ve always come back a better fighter. I just learn from it.
“I may have lost, but I was always up against it, with her pedigree, and I gave her a good test. I thought I did myself proud.
“It was a great experience, to be boxing on the Billy Joe under-card in a stadium felt surreal but amazing, at the same time.
“Usually I just walk out and look at nothing but the ring, but I had to take a moment and just appreciate how big it all was.
“A lot of people came up to me after and said how much they enjoyed the fight. She’s a strong girl, who was a lot bigger than me, and I saw the final bell.
“I think they knew I was tough, but they didn’t realise just how tough. I’ve sparred her since and the feedback has been good.
“Her camp has seen improvements in me, in my movement and now tight I’m keeping my guard, and we’re all friends now.
“Lisa is a beast in there, it was a day before weigh-in and, when I got in there, I was like ‘where did the rest of you come from?’
“It’s made me realise that the right decision is to go down to minimumweight, I walk around at flyweight and I’ve even come in under before.
“I’m really excited about it, I’ve got a good six-rounder here and I don’t want an easy ride. She won’t be getting one.”
Two hometown favourites will be in action elsewhere on the card, with Danny Ball and Connor Lee Jones slated to appear.
Ball, from Kingswinford, came close to becoming the Midlands welterweight champion in December, pushing title holder Benjamin to a points draw.
He was then matched for a shot at WBC Youth Intercontinental boss Jon Miguez in Spain, but an injury to his opponent saw the opportunity scuppered.
He instead focusses on adding to his eight wins from nine contests, with three TKOs including two in the first round. Two of those successes took place at the Venue.
Dudley’s Jones will be looking to extend his unbeaten start in the lightweight ranks, after racking up three spotless points successes.
The Lions Boxing Club graduate, an England international as a junior amateur, has vanquished experienced foes in Liam Richards, Kristian Laight and Ibrar Riyaz.
Kyle Williams is another to feature in the home corner, determined to get back to winning ways and rebuild after his setback for British honours.
Williams, from Wolverhampton, was handed his first defeat on the big stage in April, against Kash Farooq and relinquished the English bantamweight crown for the opportunity.
His next task is to add to his 10 wins, with three TKOs, having also picked up a Midlands belt along the way before claiming national glory.
James Beech Jr has relinquished the area strap at super feather, as he’s looking to come down to super bantam.
The second-generation fighter makes the short trip from nearby Bloxwich, featuring in the paid ranks for a 10th time after nine wins, with three stoppages.
He’s the son of Jimmy Beech, who featured 31 times as a pro at lightweight between 1999 and 2008. He’s a graduate of Pleck Boxing Club, who he featured for 80 times with 50 wins.
Reigning Midlands flyweight title holder Ijaz Ahmed has already defended his belt once, after claiming the area strap.
Ahmed beat Conor Blackshaw for the vacant belt and then saw off fellow Brummie Matt Windle to keep it, with a keep-busy affair now lined up.
Wolverhampton’s Conah Walker has five victories, his in the welterweight division, with two TKOs already to his credit.
‘The Wolf’ is emerging as a prospect with a boxing legend in his corner, as he’s coached by two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton.
Walker already has his first six-rounder under his belt, outpointing Nathan Bendon at the same Town Hall in May.
Alex Florence is unbeaten in the super lightweight ranks, with five victories and one stoppage of his own.
‘Pinky,’ from Ledbury in Herefordshire, will register his first bout of 2019 having passed his two-year anniversary as a pro.
Tickets, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with a buffet and waitress service, are on sale now. It will be £40 for entry on the door. For more information, contact the boxers.