Sunny Edwards says he is sick of being avoided but admits he cannot afford to take Felix Alvarado lightly if his hopes of a stellar 2023 are to be realized.

Edwards makes the third defense of his IBF flyweight title against Alvarado, the former IBF light-flyweight champion, in Sheffield on Friday. The 33-year-old Nicaraguan has not been beaten in eight years and will not be worried about fighting abroad, having won world title fights in the Philippines, Japan and the United States.

Indeed, he gave up his world title for the chance to move up in weight to face Edwards, so while the likes of Julio Cesar Martinez, Artem Dalakian and Ricardo Sandoval have proved elusive, Alvarez is a more than willing challenger.

"I relish the challenge," Edwards said. "Not only was he a world champion a few fights ago, but he moved up with the intention of fighting me. That’s good because at every other stage of my career, I have been avoided.

"Only this year, Dalakian didn’t want to fight me on the Usyk-AJ undercard, David Martinez didn’t want to fight me in Mexico and they are world champions at the weight. Ricardo Sandoval who had been next up as my mandatory, pulled out of the position the day before the mandatory got called and it looks like he would rather face two men for a world title - Jimenez and Dalakian – rather than just fight me.

"I want the competition, I don’t want easy fights, so it is good to be facing someone of his calibre."

Edwards does not have the highest of profiles in Britain, but he does not have time with anyone who wants to downgrade his resume.

"I took out the division’s No 1 in my first world title fight (Moruti Mthalane), then I beat my mandatory (Jayson Mama) and then my next leading contender (Muhammad Waseem). I have not been avoiding anyone, I just want the biggest and best fights out there.

"I commend Alvarado, he is the first fighter to really run towards a fight with me. He came up in weight looking for me, I respect that.

"I don’t think he is going to show me anything I haven’t seen before, but he is a dangerous fighter, he’s a legit challenger, a legit former world champion and ridiculously heavy handed for the weight."

Having defended his title in Dubai twice, Londoner Edwards is happy to box back in the UK in the city that has been his home for the last few years.

"I’m looking forward to putting on a show, I’m looking forward to boxing in my adopted hometown," he said.

"It’s great feeling the buzz around the city, seeing the billboards. My son is only three and he saw my name on the side of a bus as he was going to nursery."

Yet after Eurosport pulled out of their deal with Probellum, Edwards's promoters, his fights have flown under the radar.

"Every fight I was involved in on BT Sport generated viewers, they were very happy with me," Edwards said. "I had millions watching on Eurosport. Now I am on FITE TV, where 48 hours later, Floyd Mayweather if fighting Deji, so it is not as if it a dead platform

"My job as a professional boxer is to prepare and be ready for whoever they put in front of me. The other stuff is nothing to do with me."

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.