STEVE Bendall is adamant he can win a world title in a sensational comeback fight but admits: “This is my last throw of the dice.”
The Westbourne-based veteran is confident life can begin at 40 when he makes a shock ring return to compete for the World Boxing Union middleweight belt.
Bendall, who won 96 of his 115 amateur bouts, is a former English champion who has also fought for the British, European and Commonwealth crowns as a pro.
The 39-year-old, who turns 40 on December 1, will face Ghana's John Akulugu, who has nine wins out of 12, for the WBU title in Germany on December 7.
And despite not donning his gloves for almost two years and having lost his past three bouts, Coventry-born Bendall insists he still has something to offer.
He told the Daily Echo: “If I can win it, it could be a stepping stone to get back on the map. To progress, I have to get winning and then keep winning.
“I will be 40 and people might say I am a bit mad but people do not see what I am doing in the gym.
“This is my last throw of the dice. One more defeat and I will retire but I have been given a good chance.
“He is a dangerous opponent and has won his past nine fights by knockout.
“I have got to keep my boxing together and, hopefully, I can get the win.”
Bendall, who confirmed he did not currently hold a British boxing licence, said his comeback fight had been sanctioned by the German Boxing Federation.
He added: “I still think I have got something left. I still believe I have something to offer.”
Meanwhile, Bendall's pupil Jake Gosling is preparing for the second fight of his professional career.
The middleweight, who trains at Bendall's Bournemouth gym, is set for a four-round contest at Southampton Guildhall on November 16.
Bournemouth-based Gosling claimed a convincing points victory on his debut appearance in March.
Bendall said: “He is coming along really well. He is looking excellent in the gym at the moment and we are training to build on his first fight.”