Matty Tew is hoping that boxing at Southampton Guildhall will bring the best out in him.

The popular lightweight is returning to fight in front of his vociferous home support when he defends his International Masters title on Friday, March 1.

Tew boxed at the Guildhall as an amateur and will now be topping a pro bill there for the very first time.

“I boxed there as an amateur and it’s a great venue,” said the 30 year-old from Sholing.

“It feels like a proper boxing venue and is definitely the best place to box in Southampton.

“It gives you a lift when you walk out there to box.

“I’ve been to see a lot of bands at the Guildhall as well, but I’m not much of a singer myself.

“I can actually empty a pub when I start singing.”

Tew will instead stick to boxing and work on developing the skills that have taken him to 12 straight wins and the International Masters belt.

He claimed the vacant belt last November by out-toughing Georgian power-puncher Ruben Movsesian over ten action-packed rounds.

Tew says that experience sends him into a big year in confident mood.

“Movsesian came to have a go and could really hit,” he said.

“A few times I told myself to keep my hands up and use the ring a bit.

“It was great for my confidence to get the ten rounds under my belt. Now I know I can do ten hard rounds against a strong boy.

“I learned so much from that fight. I know how to pace myself, box my way in and pick my punches.

“I’m hoping for a big year. I’m looking to win the Southern Area, then move on to box for the English and maybe British titles, my manager Mickey Helliet is looking to keep me busy and that suits me great, this is make or break for me.”

Tew was given a short break over Christmas to enjoy himself but is now back in full training.

His coach, Wayne Batten, said: “He had a couple of weeks off over the festive break to let his hair down a bit, which I think was needed for him and he’s come back looking really refreshed and buzzing.

“I think he’s excited that he’s boxing at Southampton Guildhall. We know how many fans he has that go all over the country to watch him, so it will be so special for him to fight in his own back yard and I think he deserves it.

“We have worked on conditioning with him a lot over the last few weeks and we will now be stepping up his sparring.

“He will face an international opponent and we have had one name put to us that has just one defeat from ten fights.

“There are still things to be sorted out but that should get sorted soon.”

Also on the Guildhall bill will be Tew’s stablemates from the Batten’s Boxing gym in the shape of Tony Hill, Jon Fernandes, Joe Pigford and Alex Dilmaghani.

Tickets for the show are available from the Guildhall box office on 023 8063 2601 or online via their website.