SO excited is Lewis Benson to be getting back into the cut and thrust of competitive boxing, it would be nothing of a surprise if he did a Prince Naseem-esque somersault over the ropes as he enters the ring at Meadowbank Arena on Friday.

The 25 year-old is part of the ‘Capital Collision’ show in Edinburgh in what will be his first fight in seven months, a period that has felt, he says, nothing short of a lifetime. His opponent for Friday is, as yet, unnamed but Benson is too busy focusing on himself to care much about who he will be facing off against. “I’m feeling in absolutely amazing shape and I just can’t wait to get in the ring,” he said. “The last year has been really tough for me so I’m absolutely desperate to get going. I’ve had a great training camp and I’ve never felt as good in my entire career as I feel right now.”

Benson enjoyed a hugely successful amateur career which included winning Scottish and British titles, as well as an appearance for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. He turned professional in 2015, winning his first six fights in the pro ranks in the space of just eight months. It was in his second year of the pros though that things began to turn sour. “In my first year, I’d started to build some momentum and I was really improving as a professional,” the Edinburgh boxer said. “I started my second year very well too and I had my best performance of the season but during that fight, I hurt my hand. There was nothing broken but there was ligament damage and it took me four months to be able to punch again. I wasn’t able to train - I just had to wait for it to heal which was so tough. I actually ended up taking a month away from the sport just to get myself back to 100 percent.”

A victory in March of this year seemed to get Benson back on track but a back injury in sparring caused him to pull the plug on a scheduled summer fight. If patience is a virtue, it is not one that comes easily to the welterweight fighter. He admits to having been chewing his manager and coach’s ear off to throw him into a title bout such is his confidence that, despite the potential of ring-rustiness, he is in the form to become Scottish champion. “I know what I’m capable of doing but I have to remember that it’s also about getting the timing right,” he said. “It’s very hard to be patient though. I was on to Sam (Kyeoch, Benson’s manager), asking him to get me a Scottish title fight straight away – I know that would probably be daft since I’ve been out for six months but I would beat the guys who are fighting for these titles, I know I would becasue I believe I’m one of the best boxers in Scotland.”

Benson, who is supported by solicitors firm Watermans, fought over 100 times as an amateur for Scotland and cites the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 as one of the best experiences of his career. And he admits that with the next edition of the Commonwealth Games just six months away, he has had a few pangs of jealousy that he will not be a part of Team Scotland for a second time. “I do sometimes wish that I’d waited to turn pro and that I was going to the Commonwealth Games next year,” he reveals. “It’s the best thing ever to fight for your country and there’s nothing like the Commonwealth Games. I feel like if I’d stayed amateur, I could definitely have won a medal at these Games and I must admit that now the Games are so close, it’s hard not to wonder what might have been. But my heart was set on the pros and if I get a title fight soon and win it, I’ll know I’ve made the right decision to turn pro.”

It is clear that a victory for Benson on Friday will only strengthen his desire to fight for the Scottish title before moving onto even bigger and better things. With the majority of his 2017 having been plagued by injury, he is confident, nay, certain, that 2018 will be the year he makes his real breakthrough. “I set myself targets one by one,” he explained. “First, I want to win a British title, then I want to win a Commonwealth title. I know I’m completely capable of winning those titles and when I get there, I’ll set myself new goals. It’s all about being patient but I want to do that in 2018, that’s the timescale I’m looking at.”