Tyrone McKenna accepts that many will regard him as the underdog going into his fight with Zhankosh Turarov in Dubai this Saturday night and insists that will make victory all the more enjoyable.
Belfast man McKenna finds himself at a crucial point in his career as he prepares to face Turarov who is unbeaten in 24 fights. A points defeat to bitter rival Ohara Davies last year in the final of the Golden Contract was hard to accept and seemed to take all the momentum out of his career. But now he has been handed a clash with a Kazakh prospect who - like McKenna - has world title ambitions as the chief supporting bout to Carl Frampton's battle with WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring.
McKenna says he is all too familiar with the feeling of being dismissed as a threat, having had to take his fair share of lumps on the streets of west Belfast - including spending summer holidays sparring in his garden with Oliver Plunkett ABC clubmate Anthony Cacace, the current British super-featherweight champion.
"When I was a kid I was always the smallest in my class. In our area there was always boxing in the street and because I was a tiny, skinny kid I would always get picked early, so I had to dig deep and I was always ready to prove how tough I was against the other kids - and I did!," said McKenna.
"Every day in the summer I would be in the garden with Anto Cacace sparring with these small bag gloves that Anto had and we would always leave each other with bumps and bruises. In our area it was a case of be tough or go home. I had some great scraps with my brother Ciaran as well which sometimes got out of hand and turned into a proper fight.
"I suppose that got me ready for professional boxing. I've shown in my career that when I need to dig in I can. I'm 6ft 1' now but I fight like someone 5ft 6'.
"This guy is unbeaten and being tipped as a big prospect and people will have him as the favourite but I'll be ready for whatever he brings. I know I'm the better fighter in many departments.
"It's a very big night for me. The fact it has been delayed three weeks has only helped my preparation and now that we're on the same bill as Carl, going out live to the States and the UK it's a big platform for me to show where I belong as well as the chance to get a world ranking because the WBO inter-continental belt is on the line."
Leading up to the clash with Turarov, the 30-year-old has been training in Dublin alongside close friend Tommy McCarthy - even sparring with the European cruiserweight champion. "When I get in with Tommy he knows he can't go all out so that allows me to fly at him and try and knock him out! Our coach Pete Taylor was laughing his head off because Tommy hates it," added McKenna.
"The training has been unbelievable for this fight. At one point I did 12 rounds with four different sparring partners with only 30 seconds for a break and it was a case of one sparring partner in and one out for every round so they were always fresh. That just shows you the engine I have for this fight.
"There's going to be a lot of eyes on me and it's a really big chance to impress the Americans and particularly promoter Bob Arum. I want them all to fall in love with the Mighty Celt so I have to deliver outside and inside the ring."