COMEBACK man Steve Bendall has revealed he has mapped out a four-fight plan as he bids to prove his ring return is no flash in the pan.
The Westbourne-based veteran is gearing up to face Ghana’s John Akulugu for the World Boxing Union middleweight title in Germany on December 7.
Bendall is a former English champion who has also con-tested the British, European and Commonwealth crowns during his professional career.
But the 39-year-old, who will be 40 when he dons the gloves, has not fought for around two years and he lost his past three bouts.
Bendall says he will retire if he loses but the Coventry-born boxer, who has lived in Dorset for 15 years, is adamant he can flourish on his return.
He told the Daily Echo: “It is a great opportunity. I couldn’t have asked for any more. It is a very winnable fight and if I can win it, I could hopefully move on to bigger and better things. That is the plan.
“I have set myself a four-fight target and, hopefully, that fourth fight will be a big fight. Then, if I win that big fight, I will fight again.
“Don’t get me wrong, it (the WBU) is not the best title in the world but, if I win it, I could use it as a stepping stone.”
Bendall, who is training at his gym in Wallisdown under the guidance of amateur prospect Chris Billam-Smith, admits Akulugu is an unknown quantity.
He said: “He has clearly got power so I just have to be aware of that raw power. I think he is going to be a little bit raw and, hopefully, my experience will show.”
Bendall also believes he is winning his battle to be in good shape come fight night.
He said: “I keep myself fit all the time. This opportunity arose four weeks ago and with Chris already working with me, I called him in to help.
“Chris is a great trainer with all the qualifications going and he is a great up-and-coming boxer who has been around the GB set-up and he has learned from them.
“For a 12-round fight, you would like to give yourself 12 weeks of training but I was already half-fit.”