AFTER a decade of toiling away in the background to little wider recognition, being thrust under the spotlight lately has had a knock-on effect for Kash Farooq.

The British bantamweight champion’s previous fight against Kyle Williams was shown live on the BBC Scotland channel, as will his next bout against Duane Winters next month. Should he win that one at the St Andrew’s Sporting club, he will keep the Lonsdale Belt after three successful defences.

Farooq’s dedication to his craft sees him out pounding the pavements of Scotstoun in Glasgow on a near-daily basis. Only once he appeared on television, however, did his neighbours realise he was a professional boxer and not just an enthusiastic amateur runner.

“My neighbours watched me on TV in my last fight,” he said. “I’ve boxed for the past 10 years but they didn’t know that, then they saw me on TV!

“They’ve seen me go away early in the mornings to train but they probably just thought I was going away somewhere doing something but I was actually out running. They’re fans now so they’ll be watching the next fight.

“They wanted to see the belt. They’re older but they’re boxing fans. They got their family over. They brought the children over and said I needed to show them the belt.”

Winters, from Bristol, has been making noises about taking the belt from Farooq on August 17 at the Radisson Hotel in Glasgow but the quiet Pakistani-born fighter prefers to let his hands do the talking.

“He has been shouting his mouth off about what he’s going to do but I’ve already been through that with Williams, Jamie Wilson and Iain Butcher,” added the 23 year-old.

“You can talk all you want but, at the end of the day, you’ve got to fight and I think Winters is forgetting that part.

“He’s also coming up to Scotland and that’s another thing – Winters will need to beat me in my own back yard and, as soon as he steps through those ropes, he’ll realise he’s going to be in for a hard night.

“I don’t need to get involved in all that nonsense. All I’ve got to do is win and I’ll let my hands do the talking.

“I’m not going to underestimate him by any means. I’m treating him like a world champion. This could be his world title fight.

“I want to be a step ahead of him. I’m waking up earlier, I’m training that extra bit harder. I’ve got motivation. It’s my defence. I’m not on big shows so I’m in the same position as him. The belt is the only difference.”

Should Farooq come through this fight to retain his belt, it could set up an all-Scots clash with Commonwealth champion Lee McGregor. But the Glasgow-based fighter insists the money would have to be right.

“I need to get this fight out the way first, it’s my main focus. But I’d then like to fight [McGregor] at the end of the year and I think he wants it. The British board have made him a mandatory if I win this so it’s going to happen some time one way or another.

“If it was down to me I’d want to fight him but it’s also down to my management and the plans. After this, if I win the belt outright, then it becomes a business and it needs to make sense before we can take it.

“McGregor did a job on Scott Allan recently but I’m a different kettle of fish to Scott. It’s what happens on the night, two styles clashing.”