JOE HAM wants revenge.

The 28-year-old from the Gorbals takes to the ring tonight to fight Qais Ashfaq in the biggest fight of his professional career, and he is driven to avenge one of the sorest losses of his amateur career.

Ham went into the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as a genuine medal hope but Ashfaq put paid to Ham’s hopes of grabbing a spot on the podium when he eliminated the Scot at the quarter-final stage.

Since then, Ham has forged a successful career in the professional ranks, racking up a record that boasts sixteen victories and only one loss, to Tyrone McCullagh last summer.


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Tonight, in Manchester though, is his biggest test yet of his pro career.

Ham will take on the Ashfaq, for the vacant WBA Continental Super Bantam Title, and with the Englishman unbeaten to date in the pro ranks, Ham is in no doubt that he will spoil the Englishman’s record this evening.

“You always want to avenge a loss,” he said, recalling his Commonwealth Games defeat.

"And especially being a professional now, there’s a title on the line and it’s ten rounds now, rather than just three in the amateurs. The ten rounds suits my style much better.

"It’s just about being patient and sticking to my game plan. I’ve been working on certain stuff in sparring over the past few weeks so it’s about doing that in the actual fight, that’s where it matters. And I’m confident I can do that and come away with the win."

Ham is in the shape of his life. For much of his professional career, he has been forced to combine his training with a full-time job, for City Building, in Glasgow. But for this bout, his employer has afforded him five weeks off which has allowed him to focus entirely on his preparation for facing Ashfaq, something the Scot believes will make the world of difference.

“I’m feeling good – it makes a massive difference being able to train full-time rather than have to fit in the two things," he said.

"I’ve been doing two or three sessions a day and I’ve got so much more time to recover and that’s a massive help. You don’t get that opportunity too often.


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"Normally, I’m having to rush straight to training whereas now, I’ve been able to focus completely on what I need to do to be ready for the fight.

"It’s about taking opportunities when you get them – it’s about being ready and grabbing it with both hands when something like this comes around.”

Ham admits he feels like he has been somewhat biding his time in the pro ranks to date. He has spent much of his five years as a professional boxer on smaller shows in hotels, and so to fight for a belt, in an arena, live on Sky Sports, is a significant boost. He has his sights set on going right to the top and so he knows how important it would be to get his hands on his first belt this evening.

“It’d be good to get the belt because that gives you a world ranking – it puts you into the top ten or fifteen in the world so it really catapults your career," he said.

"If I win this fight then before you know it, I’ll be onto bigger and better things and I’ll be challenging for more belts. This will open doors. I know what I can do, I’ve just not had the right opportunities to do it on a big stage so far."