Quizzed by Josh Kelly on what he'll do if tonight's North-East grudge match and British title fight goes beyond halfway, Troy Williamson had a simple three-word response: "Ask Ted Cheeseman."

In October last year, Darlington's Williamson stopped Cheeseman in the 10th round of a brilliant and savage fight to snatch the British super-welterweight title.

Tonight, in his second defence of the title, unbeaten Williamson has vowed to take Kelly "to deep waters" at Newcastle's Utilita Arena as he aims to score the biggest and best win of his career in what is a mouthwatering fight, that'll be shown live on Channel 5.

Former Olympian Kelly (12-1-1) has the silky skills but Williamson (19-0-1) has questioned the heart and desire of his Sunderland opponent, who he says is "in for a tough night".

Promoter Kalle Sauerland described the bout as the "British match-up of the year" at this week's final press conference that wasn't bad tempered but was certainly niggly.

“I’ve said it before, I probably don’t need to say it again, but I believe he lacks heart," said Williamson of Kelly.

"I feel it’s bred in people, one thing’s for certain is that it’s bred in me, but we’re going to see on Friday if Josh has got it because I’m going to take him to deep waters. He’s in for a tough night."

The 31-year-old added: "My preparation has gone great. I've been in the gym for 11 weeks, working hard and smart. I'm ready to rock and roll.

"What I need to do is just turn up and perform, the hard work has been done. I'm firing on all cylinders. I'm hitting numbers in my strength and conditioning and on all my runs, I'm in a great position mentally and physically and you'll see on Friday night."

Kelly intervened and said: "I'll ask Troy one question: If it gets to the sixth round and it goes that far, when I've still got the tank and still firing on all cylinders and still boxing unbelievably, what are you going to do then?"

That was the stage at which Williamson pointed to his Cheeseman victory.

Kelly's trainer Adam Booth has been in the corner of David Haye and George Groves in the past but says this is as good as any domestic dust-up he can recall.

"As far as I can remember it's one of the best match-ups domestically I've been involved in," said Booth.

"We know exactly what Troy Williamson is. It's a fascinating match-up, I don't think there's been a better match-up this year. As someone who has a lot of experience in big events, I'm just as excited as I've ever been."

Kelly believes the "pressure is all on Troy", saying he can cope with the big stage having stepped through the ropes at Maddison Square Garden in the past.

But Williamson said: "I've fought on big shows and delivered every single time. Every time you've stepped up you've failed.

"I take it in my stride. If it goes to Championship rounds, I'm still strong. I'm ready.

“I’m not necessarily going in there to try and take him out. A lot of people underestimate my boxing skills, I’ve been a part of Team GB and boxed elite amateurs around the world, so don’t underestimate my boxing. I can box, and don’t for a moment think I can’t out-box Josh Kelly.

"I'm going to take him to deep waters, that's for sure."

Sauerland said: "We don't need to sell this too much. It's not just the British title, the winner can go on to fight for world honours. There's a hell of a lot on the line, this is the British match-up of the year."

Limited tickets for tonight's event are still available at www.wassermanboxing.com.


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Josh Kelly in confident mood ahead of North-East showdown with Troy Williamson