Jack Catterall admits he is likely to give up his British title as he targets world honours.
Chorley’s Lord Lonsdale belt holder at super lightweight is also ranked number four in the world by the World Boxing Organisation.
The unbeaten 24-year-old is back in action on Johnney Roye’s MTK Manchester show at Preston Guild Hall this Saturday night ahead of some potentially huge fights later in the year.
Should he come through his six-round clash with Nathan Hardy unscathed, Catterall is pencilled in to fight at Leeds United’s Elland Road on May 19 as Lee Selby and Josh Warrington meet for the IBF world featherweight title.
Commonwealth champion Glenn Foot has been named as the next challenger for the 19-0 southpaw’s British belt but the Chorley star has other options as he closes in on a world title shot.
Not fighting the 30-year-old from Sunderland would however likely mean vacating the British title.
“The fight in Leeds is yet to be made but it will more than likely be a defence of the WBO title,” WBO Inter-Continental champion Catterall said.
“It would probably mean I’d have to vacate the British title.
“It’s a joint decision between me and my team, it just makes more sense.
“I’ve been defending the WBO belt for more two years now and I’ve defended it several times.
“That was the route we were always going down, the British was never in the plan.
“It was beautiful winning the British title but I’m looking to keep going down the WBO route and push towards a world title.”
Manchester’s Terry Flanagan and American Maurice Hooker are set to meet for the vacant WBO world title with a future clash between the former and Catterall being talked up.
The pair share a promoter in Frank Warren meaning any deal would be easy to do.
“If Terry can win that fight I’ve been told that it can happen in the next two or three fights,” Catterall said.
“I’ve obviously got to win my fights like he does but there are good fights to be made.
“The Lord Lonsdale belt is a beautiful belt and has a lot of history. To win it, I was over the moon.
“But boxing is a business I want to keep progressing and I think the right move is to go down the WBO route and look for bigger international fights.”