Anthony Crolla says he knows he is facing a very dangerous opponent on Saturday night in the form of Ismael Barroso.
But the WBA world lightweight champion is convinced that, with the help of the fervent support of the fight fans in Manchester, he will retain his title.
Crolla claimed the title when he stopped Darleys Perez in the fifth round at the Manchester Arena last November.
And the Mancunian will be back at the venue this weekend to tackle mandatory challenger Barroso, who impressed when stopping Kevin Mitchell at the O2 in December.
Crolla held a public work-out on Monday and told Sky Sports: “I always believe that, when you’re a world champion, you take on the best possible challenges and Ismael Barroso certainly fits that bill. Very dangerous, very avoided.
“But the question marks are still there and I’ll find out for sure just how good he is on Saturday night.
“I’ve been in championship rounds, I’ve been in tough fights and I’ve come through them. If that’s what it’s going to be on Saturday, it’ll stand me in good stead.
“I’m very proud of the title and it’s something that I’ve worked very hard to get. That’s why I’ve left no stone unturned to make sure that belt stays in Manchester.”
There was a sizeable turn-out for Crolla’s Monday work-out at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
And he added: “It’s a great little turn out on a bank holiday. It’s the support I get from this city and it’s something I’m proud of and humbled by.
“It’s nice to give the fans something back, nice for them to come out and see how training has been going.
“It is fight week and in four or five nights I will be in that arena and that arena will be rocking.
“Once that bell goes it’s just you and the fighter but the crowd lifts me up that extra gear when you’re feeling it in a fight like that, it makes it that little bit easier.
“You want to make them proud and that’s what I plan on doing on Saturday night.”
Crolla will be entering the ring as the defending champion for the first time but says that will have no impact on his mentality.
“It won’t feel any different other than I’ll come out second and my little brother will be carrying out my belt,” he said.
“Other than that it’s not different, I prepare every fight like I’m the challenger.”