Flamboyant former British lightweight champion Bobby Vanzie returns to fistic action next week as a short-notice replacement opponent for Dave Stewart who was to face Peter McDonagh for the Southern Area Lightweight title. McDonagh is unable to compete following a recent car accident and Vanzie, with a BBBofC misconduct hearing still pending, is delighted to be talking about boxing rather than politics.

'I'm just pleased to get the chance to fight to be honest Dave, obviously the hearing is coming up and it will be nice to get in the ring before then.'

The fight, made at a compromise 139lbs over eight rounds, is an intriguing contest and a brave move from Stewart and his handlers who pitch their unbeaten but raw prospect in with probably the heaviest punching Lightweight in the UK and certainly the most awkward. Stewart clearly fancies that Vanzie is on the wane and can catch him ill prepared.

But whilst Bobby has had weight making problems in the past—the Yuri Romanov fight the most telling example—he will have no such problems at the catchweight, although to be fair, Stewart rarely makes the 135lb limit and is listed at six feet tall too. So it will be an interesting style and strength clash. Crucially, Bobby had already been ticking over.

'I've been in the gym virtually every day this summer, working on preparing myself for the 10 stoners when I got the call a couple of days ago, I've been doing my running and will have no problems, obviously I've switched to more boxing-orientated training now, but I feel good. If I hadn't been in some sort of training I wouldn't have accepted the fight. They wanted to make the fight a final eliminator for the British title but I couldn't make Lightweight on 10 days notice!'

So does the fact the fight is made at 139lbs signal an end to the Vanzie Lightweight story?

'Pretty much, I've talked to my team about it, and whilst I realise I may lose some of the advantages I have at Lightweight like size and reach, ultimately it's my decision and I feel happier at 10stone, getting down to 9-9 really is tough for me now and obviously this fight being short-notice it was never practical – so we settled for a pound under the Light-Welterweight limit. Besides which, I've just got to put the Earl fight behind me, its history, time to move on, everyone knows I'm the 'peoples' Lightweight champion.'

Have you seen much of young Stewart?

'Nope, not a thing, I haven't even put his name into boxrec'

Of course, British fans will know Bobby faces a disciplinary hearing for comments he made following his clash with Graham Earl for the British title earlier this year. The result caused outrage and is regarded as one of the most contentious decisions seen in a British ring. Bobby wasn’t shy in expressing his disgust. What’s the latest on the hearing with the BBBofC?

'I've yet to get official confirmation of the postponement of the hearing which was rescheduled for September 7th, I asked for mid-late September to ensure all the witnesses etc were available but the board only moved it to the 7th, which is hardly late September is it? Anyway, I've written saying I cannot make the 7th.'

It was certainly good to be talking to the likeable Bradford man about a fight as opposed to scoring, disciplinary hearings and other political wrangling and there was a palpable excitement in Bobby's voice as he talked about getting back in the ring. As a supporting fight to the mouth-watering David Haye v Carl Thompson crossroads clash on September 10th, the Wembley card is beginning to look like a ‘must see’.

And the prospect of Bobby Vanzie entering the British Light-Welterweight division where the likes of Colin Lynes and Ted Bami already compete is an enthralling development for the new season.

Comments and feedback to dwpboxing@yahoo.co.uk