JIMMY First is fighting for an English title for the first time tonight, at the grand old age of 42.

The Bradford native has had a long wait, but he finally goes up against Lewis Sylvester (12-0) at Rotherham’s Magna Centre this evening, as he looks to stun the defending champion in their lightweight bout.

Speaking to the T&A on the eve of the bout, First (14-2) said: “I’m buzzing for it, what an opportunity.

“I’m on my way to the weigh-in now, but I know I’ve made weight already because I’ve checked at home first.”

First, despite strong performances against unbeaten Cori Gibbs and Josh Padley over the last 12 months, is the huge underdog going into the bout with Sylvester.

But the Brighouse resident believes he has the full respect of the current belt holder.

First said: “I don’t know if he’ll underestimate me, because I’ve done a lot of rounds sparring at Stefy Bull’s gym near Doncaster, which is where Lewis trains, with the likes of Lee Appleyard and Jason Cunningham.

“I got offered the fight through Stefy Bull Promotions in the first place, he and Lewis know I’m game, and I think they know they’re in for a hard fight.

“Lewis knows he’ll need his A-game to beat me, because I’m going in there to take that belt off him.”

After stunning Gibbs to beat him in a televised bout last December, First has since lost narrowly to Padley, then in a rematch with Gibbs.

The Bradfordian said: “They’re both very good fighters, but it’s just about me learning from the little mistakes I made in both bouts, where I didn’t adapt and I should have done.

“I’ll sort those things out for my fight against Lewis.

“He’s a smart, slick, back-foot boxer, so I’ve got to put it on him, and I’m willing to walk through walls to win.

“That’s the mentality I need for this fight.”

First admits he has been inspired by a blast from the past too, as he looks to claim a shock win.

He did not even have his first professional fight until 2017, but the seeds were sown a few years earlier.

He said: “My mate Tyrone Nurse won the English Super Lightweight title just under 10 years ago (in April 2014).

“Just watching him box at that level, I saw what could be achieved, and here I am 10 years on, boxing for my own English title, so it’s just a nice story.

“Tyrone was the first person in history from Halifax to win that and I can do it myself now, and at my age.

“I’ve got about 110 people coming down from around Halifax/Brighouse way to watch the fight this weekend too.”