HEADLINE act Ashley Brace expects sparks to fly tonight when she challenges Melania Sorroche for the vacant European bantamweight strap in Merthyr Tydfil.

The 10-round contest tops the bill on the Sanigar Events show at the valleys town’s leisure centre, with unbeaten Brace chasing a second title of 2017.

Ebbw Vale ace Brace, 26, has won all seven of her professional fights to date, with four on points and three inside the distance.

The most recent of those stoppages, against Alexandra Vlajk this April, saw Brace claim her first championship in the paid ranks.

Fighting in her home town, the former amateur international overcame the Hungarian to clinch the vacant WBC international bantamweight crown.

Tonight’s opponent Sorroche will undoubtedly be a step up in class for Brace, the Spaniard having fought for a world title last June.

The 27-year-old Catalan, who was unbeaten in her first dozen bouts as a pro, lost out on the WBA strap to Venezuela’s Mayerlin Rivas.

Since then Sorroche has won two of three, with October’s win over fellow Spaniard Violeta Gonzalez coming a year after Venezuelan beat her to the IBF inter-continental prize.

“I’m headlining a show which has a lot of top-class men fighting on it,” said Brace. “It’s scary and nerve-racking.

“But it’s nice that Jamie and Chris Sanigar (her management team) believe in me that much.

“They took a risk when I signed for them but it shows how far we have come since then.

“I spoke to a few people before them and no-one wanted me, but they gave me a chance and I had to prove I was good enough.”

She added: “I saw the girl for the first time at the weigh-in and it was nice to see her in the flesh.

"She wouldn’t look at me when I was trying to eyeball her.

"My other opponents have been more in my face, whereas she was quite quiet – maybe she's keeping it low key until the night.

“I saw her fight against Rivas and the more recent one when she was dropped a few times, which is something I’m hoping to do to her.

“There are going to be fireworks and I know I can beat her by boxing or scrapping.

"I want to look the best I can and box to the best of my ability.

“I want to keep improving my technique and power, and hopefully a world title shot will come.

“It will have to come after this title fight, and I’d want to fight Rivas, she’s my best option.”