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Clash of titans: Scotland to crown first heavyweight champ in 71 years

Nick Campbell and Jay McFarlane will battle for the belt at Glasgow's Hydro.

McFarlane and Campbell to decide first heavyweight champion in 71 years STV News

It’s been 71 years since a Scottish heavyweight champion was crowned, but come Saturday evening that will all change.

On a card headlined by Scotland’s undisputed light-welterweight world champion Josh Taylor against challenger Jack Catterall, it’s the heavyweight contest between Nick Campbell and Jay McFarlane that will also take its place in the record books.

Campbell (4-0) is a six-foot-seven former Glasgow Warrior who has taken to the sport in impressive fashion. All of his wins have come by way of knockout – with the 32-year-old spending just eight rounds inside a professional ring in the process.

Despite his relative inexperience Campbell believes he has more than enough to walk out of the Hydro victorious.

“The camp has gone brilliant,” he told STV.

“I’ve got some real quality rounds of sparring in, done some quality training and I’m feeling confident that I’ve trained hard and left no stone unturned.

“I try to treat it like just another fight, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t aware of the history of the belt and what it would meant to me to win it, so there is definitely pressure involved in that but it’s pressure I thrive in”

“I think for me [playing for Warriors] is stuff that I can think back to about how to deal with pressure and how I felt in certain situations, it’s something I can think back to and It can help me.

“Given the fact it’s for the Scottish title, in the best arena in Glasgow, on the undercard of one of the best fighters on the planet so everything is in the mix to make it a pretty special evening for me.”

Across from him stands Jay McFarlane, who at just 23-years-old already has a 17-fight career (12-5). The Glaswegian says that fighting in front of a huge home crowd for a belt is going to be a unique occasion.

“I’m very aware of it, I was the first ever Scottish Cruiserweight title winner,” McFarlane said.

“I want to do more of that, I want to put my name on book, I want to put my name into history, especially on such a  platform.

“There are so many layers to this – the fact that it’s in the Hydro, in Glasgow, I could throw a stone from my house and hit the Hydro – it’s an unbelievable opportunity and I’m very lucky to have it.”

McFarlane’s record has ups and downs, with “The Ghost” having fought at Madison Square Garden – a venue considered the Mecca of boxing, in just his third professional fight, but it’s a fight he still has frustrations over – admitting he hasn’t always been kind to both himself and the sport.

“I could have done things a lot differently – 14-year-old me would have beaten Mark over there – but due to my negligence of myself and the sport, it was my own fault that I lost out on that opportunity.

“But now I’m more excited to fight at the Hydro – I’ve always wanted that – I want to sell out Celtic Park or Ibrox or Hampden – it’s the best people in the world up here.”

There is no showbiz bravado between the two, none of the antics which have become commonplace in the sport in the time since this title was last contested. Instead, after weeks of preparation, both feel they have the edge over the other, whilst both respecting that in a heavyweight contest anything can happen.

“If I turn up and do what I do in training, without giving too much away, I know what I’ve done in the gym will stand me in good stead on the 26th. May the best man win and I look forward to the challenge.

“Anybody who is willing to step through the ropes has heart and desire and they have my respect. My heart and desire cannot be questioned, if it comes down to that, it’s no problem.

“Nick is a cracking big guy, he’s big, tall and rangy – as far as technical boxing ability goes through I believe I’m far superior.

“I might not be the fittest, but I am a very, very intelligent fighter – people don’t see that with me, but I believe I’ll out-think him – I don’t see myself losing.”