Jarrod Fletcher.
Jarrod Fletcher. Karleila Thomsen

Jarrod aims to make an impact

JARROD Fletcher will wake up as a contender in Melbourne this morning.

The 28-year-old Hervey Bay boxer is aiming to go to sleep as the Australian middleweight champion tonight.>>

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Fletcher, or Left Jab as he is known, finally has a shot at winning his first national title as a professional when he gloves up against defending champion, Johannes Mwetupunga, at the Melbourne Pavilion.

He knows his African opponent, someone he's been chasing for over a year to get in the ring with him, won't make it easy for him.

Mwetupunga, who was born in Namibia, has had 13 bouts as a professional and he's won 11 of them including five by KO - he's also defended his title on five occasions.

His record and the news that the bookies have installed Mwetupunga as favourite doesn't bother Fletcher.

He's won all 10 of his bouts, including seven by KO, since turning professional after the Beijing Olympics and he said he has every intention of keeping his perfect record intact.

"Mate, I have never felt better in my career," the 2006 Commonwealth Games middleweight gold medallist said.

"My preparation has been great (it included sparring with WBF super middleweight contender Les Sherrington three times) and I feel fantastic - I couldn't have asked for anything more.

"I've been chasing this title for a while but never got the opportunity - now I have and I want people to see what I can do."

Boxing fans will certainly get a chance to see that as the fight will be telecast live on Fox Sports.

Fletcher said it should make for great viewing.

"It's going to be a cracker of a fight and I'm pretty certain it will go the distance (10 rounds)," he said.

"He's a big tough boy - he's huge for this division to be honest.

"I cannot afford to mix it with him.

"The key for me is to use my speed, box smartly and get the job done.

"Winning this bout will be the first step towards the world title."

Coverage all tonight's bouts on the card in Melbourne starts at 7.30pm.