SEAN McGoldrick believes next month’s Merseyside showdown with Thomas Essomba will provide him with a clear indication of which direction his career is heading.

Newport-born McGoldrick, 27, is expected to be going for a first professional title when he and former Commonwealth champion Essomba clash at Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre on August 2.

Both camps are waiting to hear if the World Boxing Council has sanctioned the 10-round contest, with their international bantamweight strap set to be up for grabs on the night.

While obviously thrilled to be in sight of his maiden belt in the paid code, unbeaten McGoldrick (9-0) is also eager for a victory to put him in the mix for bigger prizes.

“I was told on Tuesday that we were waiting for the WBC to sanction the fight and that it was going to be for the international title,” said the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

“If it is for a title then that’s a massive incentive, and it would be really special to win my first one.

“This is a good fight for me and one I’m looking forward to, and it’s definitely my toughest test yet.

“I’ve never done 10 rounds before either and I think the build-up will be a bit more intense than usual.

“I want to be involved in bigger fights in the future and that’s what could come if I win this one.”

He added: “This is looking like being my first step on the title ladder, and that’s what I’m in boxing for.

“I could have taken the easy route and gone to 15-0 or 20-0 fighting journeymen, but this will show me where I am – whether I’m ready to push on or slow down and stay at the same level a bit longer.

“It’s time for me to prove what level I’m at.”

McGoldrick and coach Jamie Moore have been doing their homework on Essomba, with the Welshman paying particular attention to his February 2017 title fight against Swansea’s Jay Harris.

Wigan-based McGoldrick said: “I watched his fight with Jay and it was tit-for-tat all the way through.

“It was a brilliant win for Jay and hopefully I’ll put in a good display as well, get a similar outcome, and that can really push me on.

“A lot of people wouldn’t have taken this opponent for their first title fight, some boxers get opponents hand-picked, but this is going to be a real test.

“Anyone who knows boxing knows how good he can be.

"He’s a two-time Olympian and very experienced in the amateurs.

“He can do a bit of everything. I’ve seen him box on the back foot and come forward, so we’ll cover all bases when it comes to tactics.

“I’m going to train as hard as I always do and keep learning on the way, and hopefully it will pay off and I’ll put on a good display."