King Davidson has been challenged to prove the hype surrounding him is justified when he defends his WBO International light middleweight title at Southampton Guildhall on Friday night.

The Nigerian, who has settled in Southampton, will make the first defence of the belt he won at Oceana back in June of last year when he takes on experienced Ghanaian Philip Kotey.

It has been a frustrating time for all concerned with Davidson as a number of issues behind the scenes has prevented him from defending before now.

But the much talked about fighter, whose presence had caused a ripple on the UK scene before the eight-month hiatus, has been encouraged to show just why people have been impressed with him.

“The plan has always been to creep him up the rankings but if you’re not active you can’t do that,” explained Davidson’s trainer Wayne Batten.

“It hasn’t quite happened like that so far, so it’s important King wins and makes a statement that way on Friday night.

“King pushed to fight here on March 1. He could have fought abroad but he really wanted this to happen here.

“It has been too long since he fought as it was June he won the title and he needs to defend it, but we are where we are and we need to focus on getting a win and getting King more active after this.

“King is a very talented and very skilful boxer and there has been a lot of hype about him and a lot of talk about him, both in this area and in boxing generally. King needs to make sure he turns up on Friday and delivers on that.”

Kotey is going to be no pushover, though.

The 31-year-old is a seasoned pro with 35 fights under his belt and will be coming to win.

Kotey last boxed in the UK in 2010 when he faced world prospect Kell Brook and suffered one of only six defeats when he was stopped in the second round.

However, since then he has built up his record again and sees this as his ticket back to the big time.

“He’s had 27 wins and 20 stoppages so he’s no bum,” said Batten.

“The last time he came over here he fought Kell Brook and got stopped, but anybody who knows anything about boxing knows what level Kell Brook is at. Since then he’s had six straight wins and he’s been active.

“He had no hesitation in taking the fight when a lot of people have been wary about facing King, so he is coming to win and is a live opponent for King.”

Tickets are available from the Southampton Guildhall box office on 023 8063 2601.