If Matty Garlett hadn't been wearing a pair of 12oz boxing gloves, he might just have pinched himself.
The 28-year-old super-featherweight was looking ahead to tomorrow night's fight with Filipino Ryan Sermona when talk turned to a possible world title challenge in the next 18 months.
"It would mean the world to me, just like a little kid's dream come true," he said.
"You dream of being a world champion, even to fight in a world title is a dream to me. Coming from a little community in Northam, I can just be a role model to all indigenous kids out there. It can happen to you, just put in the work."
Garlett's wide-eyed wonder isn't far-fetched, either.
Unranked and largely unknown earlier this year, he thrust himself into contention with a dominant 12-round points victory over World Boxing Council No.3 Sipho Taliwe in May.
The win over the South African in Melbourne earned Garlett the WBC International title, which he defends for the first time against Sermona at Metro City.
"To beat the No.3 ranked in the world, suddenly my name was thrust out there. I'm No.8 in the WBC, I'm just this close to getting a world title shot. Hopefully I'll get it next year.
"When I dropped him (Taliwe) with a left hook in round four, I knew I'd got the fight, I just had to stay calm."
Garlett, who has 11 wins from his 12 fights, has always had talent but puts his recent success down to a change in approach and working alongside Harry's Gym stablemate Chris John, the Indonesian world featherweight champion who will top the bill tomorrow.
"You can never stop learning. To get up to that level you have to eat and live to be a world champion. It's full-time but I'm enjoying it," Garlett said.
"I look up to Chris John, who is incredible."
Garlett's trainer Angelo Hyder describes his man as WA's "best-kept secret".
"Matty's been sparring with Chris John and Daud Yordan, another champion, so that's allowed him to be far better and far more experienced than his record shows," Hyder said.
"He's come from being a six-round fighter on the undercard of Danny Green fights to beating the No.3 in the world.
"He said to me after that vic- tory, 'I thought I could do it, now I know I can do it'."