LANCE Cooksey’s first professional fight outside Wales this weekend will also be his last before moving down in weight to pursue a Welsh title shot later in 2019.

The Tony Borg-trained 28-year-old makes the switch from lightweight to super-featherweight after Saturday night’s clash with Aleksandrs Birkenbergs (4-20) at London’s York Hall.

A win over the Latvian will see St Joseph’s-based Cooksey extend his unblemished record in the pro ranks to 9-0 and set himself up nicely for a crack at the 130lbs division.

“I’m hoping for more opportunities in terms of being able to fight for a title sooner,” said Cooksey on why he is changing weights. “Not that it’s going to be any easier at super-featherweight.

“And the other thing is I’m possibly going to be a fighter with a bigger frame at a lighter weight, where I wasn’t necessarily the biggest at lightweight even though I’m quite broad.

“I’m probably going to be a larger super-featherweight and hopefully that will work in my favour.

“It’s always something I considered, and it gives me more chances to progress than if I stayed at lightweight.

“The lightweight division is huge in Britain right now, particularly in Wales where you’ve got Lee Selby, Craig Evans, Joe Cordina and Gavin Gwynne.

“Gavin is the Welsh champion and unless he vacates it then I’m not going to fight him because we are in the same gym.

“At super-featherweight in Wales you’ve got the likes of Kristian Touze and Angelo Dragone who have been calling each other out not knowing I’m moving down from lightweight.

“Hopefully it won’t be too long before I fight for the Welsh title, and with my record I should be high up the pecking order with the BBBoC (British Boxing Board of Control).

He added: “I’m going to be the lightest I’ve been as a pro and I’ll making changes to my diet and certain things in training.

“I don’t see dropping down a weight being a problem as long as I stick to the right diet to make the weight safely.”

Bethnal Green’s York Hall is a new venue for Rhoose resident Cooksey, while he knows even less about the man he’ll be fighting, but he’s confident of getting the job done.

“I know he is going to be game and looking for an upset, but he’s just another opponent I’m going to have to deal with,” said the Welshman.

“The fight is going to be at 9st 8lbs instead of 9st 9lbs and I’m feeling really good.

“It’s my first time fighting outside Wales, but I’ll still have some fans to support me.”