Steve Collins appears to have moved one step closer to securing a fight with American legend Roy Jones Jr after the former world champion was granted permission to step back in the ring.

The 48-year-old says he has gained a licence but it is yet unknown from whom as the British Boxing Board of Control have declared that they have not been approached.

Roy Jones Jr
Roy Jones Jr has said he is prepared to face Steve Collins. [Reuters]

Collins made it public knowledge that he wanted to get back in the ring earlier this year and he is desperate to secure a bout with Jones Jr, who was once considered the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet.

The four-weight world champion has shared the ring with some of the best in the business and shocked the world back in 2003 when he managed to win the WBA heavyweight title from John Ruiz, having first won a world crown at middleweight some nine years previously.

Despite calls for him to walk away from the sport, Jones Jr continues to fight professionally and was last seen in the ring last June when he won a split decision against little-known Pole Pawel Glazewski.

Collins had wanted to fight Jones Jr when he was in his prime and dominating the super-middleweight division but the contest could never be made. Now the Irishman believes there's a chance of making the fight happen, though he made it clear it is not for financial reasons.

"I'm not coming back for a payday," Collins told the BBC. "This is a grudge match. This fight [against Jones] was supposed to happen 15 years ago but it didn't.

"Now it has just come about this year. He's up for it. Otherwise, he was going to retire with people always bringing it up that 'you didn't want to fight Collins'. He wants to remove that before he retires."

Collins was himself a two-weight world champion and he believes Jones Jr is interested in making the fight happen, with the most likely venue somewhere in the Middle East or Eastern Europe.

"Roy Jones is going to take the fight. It's confirming the venue and TV. If the money is there the fight will happen. Roy Jones wants paying. We are getting closer," added Collins.

Jones Jr, 44, did make it clear earlier this year that he would be interested in facing Collins as he has never stood down from a fight.

"I've spoken to Steve and I said 'I don't duck or dive nobody', so it's a very big possibility," said Jones. "I wasn't looking for him but when he said he wanted to fight me I was like, 'OK'. I don't know where the animosity came from but if that's what he wants, he can get it.

"I said 'hey, I'm sorry it didn't happen when it should have happened, it wasn't because of me - but if that's what you want to do, I don't see no problem with it'."