Undefeated Aberdeen welterweight Dean Sutherland aims to make up for lost time by landing title glory in 2021.
The 22-year-old’s ring momentum was derailed by the coronavirus outbreak in March.
Sutherland has not fought since a comprehensive points defeat of Basi Rasaq in February to take his record to 10 wins from 10 fights.
Southpaw Sutherland this week signed with renowned Sheffield-based promoter Dennis Hobson, who oversaw the careers of former world champion Ricky Hatton, David Haye and Clinton Woods.
Undefeated north-east super bantamweight Billy Stuart (10-0), from Macduff, has also signed with Hobson’s Fight Academy stable.
Both Sutherland and Stuart are training at the Granite City ABC gym in Aberdeen.
Sutherland said: “I aim to have a big year and get a title shot in 2021.
“My apprenticeship is done in boxing. I am now 100% ready for a title shot and to push my career to the next level.
“I am at that stage as I have a lot more maturity and also confidence in myself and the team I work with.
“There was real frustration at not really getting out to fight in 2020 – I’m going to take that out in the new year and take everything I can.”
Hobson and Sutherland’s manager Sam Kynoch will co-promote in Scotland and aim to bring big fights to Aberdeen.
With more than 30 years’ experience of promoting top fighters, Hobson has vowed to get British and Commonwealth title shots for both Sutherland and Stuart and also propel them on to the international scene.
Sutherland said: “Big time boxing will be back in Aberdeen.
“We are fed up of all the big fights being down in the Central Belt when we have so much talent up here. Now we are going to start demanding and pulling people up here for big fights to put Aberdeen back on the map.”
Although Sutherland has not fought since the pandemic hit, he has been far from inactive.
He switched to the Granite City from a Dundee gym and now trains under the guidance of Davie McAllister Jr and brother Matty, while Sutherland has packed in sparring sessions with fellow rising Scottish welterweight Martin Harkin.
He said: “Realistically it is between myself and him who is the best welterweight in Scotland.
“It was good that I was able to test myself against Martin and see where I am in those sessions.”
A former multiple weight world kickboxing champion, Sutherland admits being denied the chance to fight during the pandemic and the regular routine of an athlete became tough – but is confident he will emerge stronger.
He said: “It feels like a long, long time since I was last in the ring.
“With boxers it is like Groundhog Day with the repetition you get into with training, work, training, rest.
“That is the way my days go, so to have that all flipped upside down with the lockdown was tough.
“I revaluated some things. I made tweaks, and instead of learning on the job I have had a little more time to transition in styles and get comfortable with everything.”