COMEBACK king Steve Bendall is set to defend his World Boxing Union middleweight crown in Bournemouth with hot prospect Iain Weaver on the undercard.

The 40-year-old veteran’s clash with German challenger Florian Wildenhof tops a bill of seven fights at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) on Saturday, March 15, in what promises to be the town’s biggest boxing bonanza to date.

Ferndown fighter Weaver, 24, takes on Ghanaian opponent Michael Ansah in a six-round bout on the back of an unblemished record of five victories since turning professional in April last year.

It will be the first outing in Dorset for both men with Coventry-born Bendall determined to put on a show and inspire the host of would-be boxers to forward their careers in his adopted hometown.

Bendall told the Daily Echo: “I have been down here for 15 years and we have never had a proper, professional boxing show so we really had to make it happen.

“It is important for the people Bournemouth to come out and support the two best fighters down here. People need to see how lucky we are to have such talent on our doorstep.

“So many boys are looking to progress in the same way Iain did. They want to make a name for themselves and if they see us building good stables they will stick with it here instead of going out of town to try to turn pro.

“I might be coming towards the end of my career and the kid (Weaver) is still putting himself on the map but we can bring more to (boxing in) Bournemouth with two good wins.”

Wildenhof, 32, will arrive on the south coast with an impressive record, boasting 17 wins from 20 fights, but Bendall is eyeing a successful defence of the title he won by beating John Akugulu in Germany in December.

“I don’t feel 40 and, hopefully, I will be able to show that. I’m doing it in the gym so it’s all about putting it together,” Bendall added.

“To come home and do it in Bournemouth, it’s just great for me.

“I’m just looking forward to having a packed house filled with my home crowd.”

  • For tickets – which are priced from £25-70 – or sponsorship packages, contact Bendall on 07855 942151 or Weaver on 07867 382890. The BIC box office starts selling tickets from Monday.