Number one contendership beckons for Justin Whitehead

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Justin Whitehead takes a brief moment out from training at the California Gully gym of trainers Pat and Gary Connolly ahead of his heavyweight showdown. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Justin Whitehead takes a brief moment out from training at the California Gully gym of trainers Pat and Gary Connolly ahead of his heavyweight showdown. Picture: DARREN HOWE

JUSTIN Whitehead says he is ready to seize his golden opportunity to become the number one contender to the Australian heavyweight title.

The Bendigo boxer will battle 21-year-old Samoan-born fighter Herman Ene Purcell in Toowoomba on Saturday night.

A shot at the title, currently held by Willie Nasio, awaits the victor.

Whitehead, a former Australian heavyweight champion and former WBF International and Asia Pacific title holder, will enter the bout in his best shape in years.

The former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist only returned to boxing last year after a layoff of five years and has had two fights for one win and one loss.

Whitehead's experience and 195cm height are expected to pose some difficulties for the shorter Ene Purcell, who has a 10-5 professional record.

"He's an up-and-coming fighter and big unit; and he's a puncher and I'm a boxer," Whitehead said.

"If I can stick to my game plan, I'll win.

"The preparation has been a lot better this time around.

"I've always trained hard, but last year (against Julius Long) I trained hard without really looking after myself; I was working a lot and I probably didn't eat enough and I got a bit crook before the fight. 

“This time I've made sure I've looked after everything."

Whitehead, whose professional record is 6-1, will enter the fight as the number two ranked heavyweight in the country.

Ene-Purcell is ranked number 10.

Whitehead has been dividing his time between training, running his business Golden Square Chicken and Seafood and working with students from Eaglehawk Secondary College's 'Boys to Men' program.

He said the opportunity to become the number one was a surprise, but one he intended on making the most of.

The fight will take place at Rumours International.

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