Unbeaten Dumbarton welterweight Martin Harkin will be looking to get his 2019 off to a flier at the end of this month as he fights for the first major honour of his career.

The 26-year-old has been lined up for a crack at the vacant BBBofC Celtic title on January 31 at the Radisson Hotel in Glasgow as part of St Andrew’s Sporting Club’s Burns Night event.

After the disappointment of seeing his December bout with Lewis Crocker called off at the last minute after the Northern Irishman sustained an arm injury, Harkin is ready to get back in the ring after the extended lay-off, taking on experienced Welshman Tony Dixon.

The Merthyr Tydfil fighter, also 26, boasts a record of 13 professional fights with 11 wins and two losses.

Harkin extended his unbeaten record to eight wins from eight pro fights at the Lagoon Centre in Paisley back in October with a one-sided win against English journeyman Chris Jenkinson but has been out of action since with the Crocker call-off halting any chance of adding to his record.

The Dumbarton brawler put in 10 weeks of gruelling training for the biggest fight of his life against Crocker and was understandably despondent at the unfortunate turn of events.

However, he says that disappointment will only drive him to work harder to win the Celtic title in front of a home crowd - and win it in some style.

He said: “I’m so excited for this fight. I actually think it works out better for me than the Crocker fight. This is a chance to fight for a major title in Glasgow. It’s almost a home advantage for me with it being at the Radisson. That won’t mean much when we’re in the ring but it could make a difference. More than anything, though, I’m just delighted that I still have the chance to fight for this after what happened in December.”

His opponent is the current BBBofC Welsh Area Welterweight and Super Welterweight Champion but, with just five weeks notice, Harkin admits he doesn’t know too much about the Welshman other than his impressive record.

“I’ve not seen too much of Tony to be honest,” Harkin confessed. “I know he has a good record of 11 wins and he’s higher than me in the Celtic rankings. There’s some footage of him on YouTube but not too much to go on really.

“What I do know is that he’s only lost twice against two really top quality opponents - a Celtic champion and a British champion. This and currently holding the Welsh area title shows he’s a good fighter. His higher ranking means if I beat him then I have the chance to climb up the rankings as well as taking the title. There’s plenty of incentive there.”

That incentive is vital for Harkin who is looking to bounce back from the disappointment of seeing the Crocker fight cancelled.

He said: “I put so much effort into the Crocker camp only to see it called off at the last minute. That was so disheartening but if anything it’s made me even more determined.

“I’ve barely taken any time off from training since it was called off. I had a few days off over Christmas for a break just to make sure I don’t peak too early for this fight. I’m right back into it now. Hard training, lots of sparring, running and strength work.

“Winning this will put me in the top 10 welterweights in Britain which would be massive. That’s some big fights guaranteed. It’s all one fight a time still but hopefully this sets me up for a big 2019.”