Frankie Gavin: Birmingham boxer to defend Commonwealth title
Birmingham boxer Frankie Gavin is to put his Commonwealth welterweight title on the line for the third time in Newcastle in late March.
Gavin, 28, will be on the undercard of Stuart Hall's IBF World Bantamweight title defence against Martin Ward.
And he knows that victory could earn him a shot at the world title.
"This is the biggest year of my life with the world title in my sights," said Gavin.
"I can't afford to slip up against Shikukutu with so much on the line."
Gavin, ranked number five in the World Boxing Organisation's list of contenders, is hopeful of getting a his big chance after signing a new promotional deal with promoter Frank Warren last month.
But first he has to get past Shikukutu, ranked number 14 in the organisation, who has won 18 out of 21 fights - 12 by knockout - with two losses and a draw.
"From what I've seen, he's a decent puncher, a tough, strong African who could be a right handful.
"African fighters are as hard nails, continually throwing punches and coming forward, Shikukutu will bring out my best qualities and make me fight at my best.
"I had a great year last year winning the Lonsdale belt outright and beating the likes of Jason Welborn, Denton Vassell and David Barnes.
"But this is a new year and I could end it by being world champion.
"I've come this far in my career and I'm on the brink of a world title fight so to lose that to Shikukutu is not an option in my eyes."