DARLINGTON'S Chrissy Wood is hoping home advantage counts today when he takes on Jamie Humble this afternoon.

The pair meet at the Dolphin Centre, with the Northern Area super bantamweight strap up for grabs.

Wood, managed by Tyneside’s Steve Wraith and trained by Peter Shepperson at The Northern Echo Arena, made a long-awaited return to the ring with a points win over Russ Midgeley earlier this year and makes a sizeable step up from four to ten rounds.

Humble has won five straight in the paid ranks since turning professional over 18 months ago. He has the upper hand in experience and with two stoppages to his name, and recently stopped Dmitrijs Gutmans at St James’ Park.

Now the pair collide on Darlington’s Christmas Cracker show. The returning Paul Gidney, who appears on the undercard, has been afforded a first defence by either victor.

“Both training camps I’ve had, for Midgeley and Humble, have been top quality with some fantastic sparring,” said Wood.

“Granted there’s been a few things to work on, to improve on, but that’s what we all do in the sport so it’s done every fight.

“I’ve sparred Stuey Hall, Joe Tyres and Joe Maphosa at home, and been on the road with the Yafai’s and Jason Cunningham, which I owe Stuey and Pete (Shepperson) for opening the doors.

“I couldn’t have asked for better and I’ve held my own when I’ve been in with them. Doing the ten rounds, even back in the amateur days, it’s no problem and I’ve always been adaptable to that distance as it brings the best out of me.”

Wood added: “I did want to fight for the Area title at some point when I came back and its credit to Steve (Wraith) for getting me it in only my second fight.

“I respect Humble but I am confident I will beat him, without a shadow of a doubt that belt is staying with me in Darlington.

“He is in for one hell of a shock if he thinks the way he is, underestimating me and, although I respect him, we’ll leave it all in the ring.”

Both fighters have had a similar preparation period for the Area title bout, with both having fights at St James’ in September.

Humble, who gives up home advantage for the opportunity, added: “I only had four days off after the last fight.

“I had two weeks in Denmark getting some quality sparring in which was a great experience so it makes no difference where I am and who against.

“I’ve watched his last fight and he seems decent enough with a good variety of shots, but his opponent wasn’t really strong and, although Chrissy may have some power, it didn’t show he got the win, which is what you need.

“Chrissy is a lot shorter than me and I deal with those quickly and easily, plus I’m a stronger fighter.

“I also feel that, once I’ve won this, I will put on a defence to help get a few more rounds under my belt and have a feeling that Paul Gidney would be good for it.

“In fact I believe they’ll come for it.”

The only previous holder of the regional super bantamweight strap was Hartlepool’s Michael Hunter, the former British, European, Commonwealth and WBF World champion stopping Sunderland’s John Barnes in eight some 16 years ago.

The undercard features the returning Gidney, along with Richard O’Neill, Neil Hepper, and a pair of Darlington debutants in Terry Tyres and Ellis Corrie.

Sponsored by Cross Fit Gym and Watt Gym, doors are open from noon today and the first fight scheduled for 1.30. Visit proboxingnewcastlegateshead.com for details.