Caoimhin Agyarko v Troy Williamson; WBA Continental light-middleweight title (SSE Arena, Saturday, live on DAZN)

THE homecoming Caoimhin Agyarko has craved arrives on Saturday night when he and Troy Williamson (20-1-1) put their verbal sparring to the side to trade leather for real.

The former Holy Trinity amateur has not boxed in his native city since 2019 when he out-pointed Paul Allison over six rounds at the Ulster Hall in what was just his fourth pro fight.

It is very different this week as he gets set for what is undoubtedly the toughest test to date against Williamson whose sole career loss came against Josh Kelly on the cards as he lost his British title, exactly a year to the day when he and Agyarko lock horns.

That defeat to Kelly will give Agyarko a little insight into what works against the Darlington man, but that is all it is, as he expects his rival to arrive in Belfast in determined mood.

‘Trojan’ can punch with 14 of his 21 wins inside the distance, but Agyarko believes he hasn’t been the same fighter since taking the British title from Ted Cheeseman in 2021.

But that does not mean his is taking anything for granted as he knows the Englishman represents his toughest test to date as he will know that defeat could spell the end, yet is also a hurdle he fully intends to clear.

“I don’t fight like Josh Kelly,” Agyarko stressed.

“There are some similarities with my head movement and quick feet, but I’m not a Josh Kelly-type fighter.

“You can still take some things from that fight in terms of flaws in Troy’s performance.

“From the (Ted) Cheeseman fight (Williamson won in the 10th round to take the British title) he hasn’t boxed to that standard.

“Before that, he had a fight he could have lost against Harry Scarff, another against Jack Flatley where he drew. He dropped against Mason Cartwright which was close and then has had the Kelly loss.

“I don’t want to say he is decline, but especially since the Cheeseman fight he hasn’t performed to that ability.

“Still, I won’t take much from that as I’m going in expecting the best Troy Williamson possible as he is coming to prove a point and wants a big name on his record. He’s coming to spoil my homecoming, but this is the best camp I’ve ever had in terms of no injuries, training, the fittest I’ve ever been.

“I need a big fight like this to get me up for it and someone who will test me.”

Agyarko is 13-0 heading into this weekend and victory over the Darlington man would represent full liftoff in his career.

In the four-and-a-half years since he last fought at home, ‘Black Thunder’ has picked up WBA International titles at middleweight and then back down at light-middle, switched promoter from Frank warren to Eddie Hearn, moved from head coach Al Smith to Joe McNally and endured an extremely frustration period with injury, all the while improving to 13-0.

The 26-year-old would have hoped to have been a little further down the line by now, but boxing is full of setbacks and he has had to endure his fair share.

“This is a massive fight on a massive show, a big opportunity for me to fight back home and put on a great performance,” said Agyarko.

“The last time back at home in 2019 was a long time ago, but I’m buzzing to be back home and in the SSE Arena - a massive venue and a massive card.

“It’s been a hard couple of years with injuries. I’d been on a good run and built momentum fighting back-to-back, picked up two titles, but then it all stalled with injuries. I’m glad everything has settled now and I’m back on that path.

“He’s been calling me out for a while and I understand that - it’s boxing and closed mouths don’t get fed.

“I wouldn’t call it a rivalry between us, but he is just in my way to reach the top.”