HAMZAH Butt is training harder than ever before to ensure fulfilling a lifelong dream becomes even more memorable.

The Southend based boxer grew up dreaming of fighting at the 02 Arena.

And the 26-year-old will be doing just that in early July when he takes on Alfie Winter in his toughest test yet.

“I’ve wanted to fight there for as long as I can remember,” said Butt.

“When I was a teenager working in London I’d get the train to my amateur gym after work and would swap at West Ham for the Jubilee Line.

“I’d just stare at the 02 and think I’m going to fight there one day.

“It’s crazy it’s worked out that way and to be sitting next to Kevin Mitchell for the press conference talking about it all.

“I’m confident I’m going to rise to the occasion and I always think a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter so that’s what I always aim to be.”

Butt has won his two previous professional fights.

But he admits Winter will be his most difficult opponent so far.

“It’s a huge step up in opposition for me,” said Butt.

“Alfie’s a really talented guy and I have nothing bad to say about him.

“He’s really good, focused and sharp but I’m using that in my head.

“I’ve got to be training harder than him to be able to beat him on the night.”

Butt has been putting the hours in to ensure he is in the best possible shape.

And he is pleased with how things are going.

“Preparations are going really well,” said Butt.

“I’m training hard down at RJ’s in Romford.

“I’m with Rod and Ross there.

“They’re really looking after me and they know what they’re doing.

“Sparring has been really good and so has the track work.

“It’s been gruelling and really tough but it has to be that way.

“The levels have been upped and this is the hardest I’ve ever worked.”

Butt is hoping that work ethic will be rewarded with a win on Saturday July 6.

However, he first got into the sport to try and make his first ever trip abroad.

“I wanted to travel and that’s why I first started boxing,” said Butt.

“My parents didn’t have a lot of money and they focused on education.

“I finished school with really good grades but I’d never left the country.

“I had a mate who boxed and he went all over.

“I knew I had to be good enough.

“ I was rubbish when I started but I kept working at it and never looked back and it’s been great.”

Butt was also keen to thank his sponsors wefinanceanycar.com, Octane Finance, Marion Freight and BM Steel.