Elliott Hoye has vowed not to underestimate Nicholas Adams in the main event of Shock N Awe 29.
The flyweight enters the cage for the first time this year at Portsmouth Guildhall on Saturday.
Hoye, who trains at Fratton’s Gym 01, was due to face the experienced Sami Yahia.
But the Frenchman suffered a broken hand, causing him to pull out six days before the bout with a broken hand.
Gym 01 head coach, Brian Adams, contacted 80 coaches and fighters looking for an 11th-hour replacement.
Only Nicholas Adams, from Lionz Gym, would step up, though, and makes his professional debut.
Hoye is the heavy favourite as he bids to extend his perfect record to 4-0.
The Brighton-born talent admitted he was disappointed he didn’t get to test himself against someone of Yahia’s calibre.
He respects his opponent for rising to the challenge – but believes the fight won’t go the distance.
Hoye said: ‘Unfortunately Sami messaged me on Sunday and told me he has broken his hand.
‘Brian has been messaging people all week but no-one stepped up.
‘There were people who pulled out on the same card at my weight but didn’t want to fight me.
‘But we’ve got one. He’s not the same level as Yahia but he’s going to come and try to win.
‘He wants to go out there and try to beat me on my home show. I’ve got to come out and make a statement.
‘It is frustrating because I was looking forward to the challenge of facing a more experienced fighter.
‘I’m still ready and I’m not underestimating Adams.
‘He’s still coming in with 4oz gloves trying to punch me in the face and I am very aware of that.
‘I’m always looking to finish fights but I’m not going to rush it.
‘I think I’m going to choke him out but we’ll have to wait and see. I’ll go in there, use my skills and I’m always hunting for the finish.’
Hoye fights for the first time since putting Abdel Lif to the sword at Shock N Awe 28 in November.
He was supposed to fight Olya Wolfe in December but his opponent missed weight.
Instead, Gym 01 team-mate Cameron Hardy stepped in and delivered a first-round success.
But with two more fights already lined up in April and May, Hoye is relishing getting back inside the cage.
He added: ‘It’s frustrating I didn’t fight in December but I have one on Saturday, next month and one lined up in May, so I’m quite busy.
‘Yahia was a step up but I’ve got a lot of fights lined up so it’s too bad.
‘I’m going to have a lot of fights this year. It’s a shame I haven’t had one yet three by May is still solid.
‘It’ll be nice to get back in there and show the improvements I’ve made during this little bit of time.’