Birmingham-based boxer Tommy Langford hopes to move up the world rankings on Saturday when he fights for the WBO Intercontinental middleweight title.
Unbeaten in 12 professional bouts, the 25-year-old Devonian will go into the WBO's top 10 for a world title shot if he beats Mexican Julio Cesar Avalos.
The former Birmingham University student believes that it was leaving Devon that gave him his big break.
"I'm very glad I came to university," he told BBC Midlands Today.
"It was instilled in me from a very young age that education was important and to pursue it to the maximum I could."
|Langford's professional record|
|Since making his professional debut in September 2012, Tommy Langford has won all his 12 fights, four of them inside the distance. If he gets through his bout for the World Boxing Organisation's vacant Intercontinental middleweight title, a world title shot may be in his grasp.|
After a talented amateur career in Devon, Langford found himself sparring with Birmingham's Frankie Gavin at a training camp at the age of 16, ahead of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
He could not lay a glove on Gavin and resolved there and then to find out where he trained and start going there himself.
Langford, whose parents are both teachers, decided that his best way forward was to get his A-levels and apply to study at the University of Birmingham.
He completed his sports science degree while regularly attending Hall Green Boxing Club and, having signed up with promoter Frank Warren last year, all that hard work has now paid off.
"I've picked up the degree which will stand me in good stead in the future," he said. "It was my Plan B if my Plan A of boxing didn't work out."
Tommy Langford was talking to BBC Midlands Today's Nick Clitheroe.