Tommy Welch describes his lifelong connection with boxing as his weirdest relationship.

The Brighton heavyweight reckons he wore boxing gloves before he had shoes.

That can happen when your dad is a successful boxer like Scott Welch.

Tommy is making his own way now and ready for a big night in his home city on Friday as he faces unbeaten Argentinean Jonathan Vergara at the Brighton Centre on an eagerly-awaited bill topped by Harlem Eubank.

It is a huge moment in a sport which drives him mad at times – but which he loves and cannot leave alone.

Welch told The Argus: “I had gloves on before I had shoes!

“You know what? I hated this game.

“But once you get the taste for it, you can never leave it.

“It’s probably the weirdest relationship I have ever had in my life.

“It’s a love-hate relationship. I love everything about it.

“The game, the training, the discipline, the mind games.

“The people you meet along the journey are fantastic.

“The other side of it is just politics. Getting messed around a little bit.

“Nothing is ever plain sailing but I’m happy to take it on board.

“We are here now and this show is going to be potentially the rocket-launcher for our careers, mine and Harlem’s as well.

“We are going to get the crowd on-side.

“I have got a lot of people coming down. We are here to put a show on.”

Welch’s last outing came on a red hot afternoon in late May at the Vitality Stadium, home of AFC Bournemouth, as he outpointed Amine Boucetta to move to 11-0.

“I’ve bounced from football stadium to football stadium,” he jokes now, speaking to The Argus at the Amex on his round of pre-fight publicity appearances.

“I flew out to LA for a sparring camp before the last fight and I probably under-estimated the effects of the time difference.

“I felt a bit groggy in some bits and my mind wasn’t in it, I’ll be honest. There was a lot going on in the background.

“I got out of it and in the end I won comfortably but I wasn’t at my sharpest.

“I have been working my nuts off to put everything right and really give my best performance in this fight here.

“I only fought a few months back and I have been sparring hard, training hard and I’m feeling good.”

Welch is focussed on his own performance rather than the opponent.

He said: “I’ve been in training camp now for about 17 weeks.

“I was due to fight earlier in October and unfortunately it got cancelled.

“We get messed about a lot as fighters.

“I am just pleased this show has come about.

“Harlem is topping it and I am chief support.

“We have always been next to each other, which has been good.

“It has been good to see his career and I have started mine.

“We are almost level in wins and we are here to put on a great performance for our home town.

“We were born here, raised here and we have been running around these streets for the longest.

“It’s nice to give something back to our supporting people.”

“I’m a Brighton boy through and through, for sure.