IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby says beating Jonathan Victor Barros in London on Saturday will lead him onto the high-profile fights he craves.
The pair were due to fight in Las Vegas in January, but the bout was cancelled at the 11th hour when Barros failed a medical exam.
Welshman Selby, 30, feels higher-profile fights await after finally getting past his mandatory challenger.
“Getting Barros out of the way frees me up for the big fights,” he said.
“It’s been a long time coming, and on Saturday night, I’m looking forward to putting on a show and to see the back of Jonathan Barros.”
The original fight was on the undercard of the WBA tight fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton, with the winners then set to meet in an unification fight.
But those plans were ruined when Barros was forced to withdraw 24 hours before the bout, with the Nevada Athletic Commission simply saying the Argentine had “not met fight requirements”.
Cruz, who took Frampton’s title, then suggested he was open to an unification fight with Selby, but the IBF ordered a mandatory defence with Barros after concerns over the 33-year-old’s health were allayed.
Selby admits the whole ordeal means the shadow of the Argentine has loomed large over him during the past six months.
“He’s not this big, mean monster I’ve been making him out to be in my head,” said Selby, who met Barros for the first time at Friday’s weigh-in.
“He’s very good, he’s very strong. It’s going to be a tough fight, but one I’m confident of winning. I believe I can beat anybody.”
Selby has decided to proceed with the fight against Barros despite the sudden death of his mother, Frankie, on Tuesday.
This will be only his third defence of the title he won by beating Evgeny Gradovich in May 2015 at the O2 Arena, highlighting the inactivity that has stalled his progress towards higher-profile opponents.
With no UK promoter, Selby knows he needs to deliver a convincing performance to rise his profile and attract the division’s leading performers.
“Without the right opponent I can’t see me headlining shows,” he admitted.