Undefeated Aberdeen welterweight Dean Sutherland’s rising reputation led to an invitation to spar with former world champion Kell Brook.
Southpaw Sutherland went toe-to-toe with former IBF welterweight world title holder Brook at the legendary Ingle gym, Sheffield.
The 21-year-old Aberdonian had two sparring sessions with ring legend Brook, 33, who is preparing for a fight with American Mark de Luca in Sheffield on February 8.
With an impeccable pro record of nine wins from nine Sutherland is fighting on the same night.
He will face Bazi Razaq over six rounds at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.
Sutherland, aka Deadly, said: “Sparring with a former world champion who is still recognised as one of the best welterweights around gave me a lot of confidence.
“I had good, competitive sparring and learned things from Kell.
“After holding my own in sparring with one of the best in the world I know whoever I come up against competitively next will be nowhere near that level.
“Kell and Dominic Ingle (coach) gave me some tips, good constructive criticism and some positive things to work on. I can use their invaluable knowledge to help my development.”
Brook has stepped up to super-welterweight and will face de Luca next month in a fight he hopes is the first step towards becoming a two-weight world champion.
Sutherland also has his own aspirations this year and is closing in on a Commonwealth title eliminator. The Commonwealth council have sanctioned the former multiple-weight world kick-boxing champion for a future eliminator.
Sutherland said: “Kell’s dad was at the gym on one of the days we were sparring and he said I have to take massive confidence after doing so well against Kell.
“He said when Kell was my age he had exactly the same mentality that he was willing to train or spar with anyone in the bid to improve.
“He said that if you have that philosophy from a young age and are determined and passionate it is easy to reach your goals.”
Sutherland spent four days in Sheffield and trained at the gym that was founded by legendary trainer Ingle, who passed away in 2018. His son Dominic now runs the facility.
The Ingle Gym produced former lineal world featherweight champion Prince Naseem Hamed.
Other Ingle Gym graduates are former WBC light-welterweight champion Junior Witter and former WBO cruiser-weight holder Johnny Nelson.
Sutherland said: “I used to watch Kell box on television and he is someone I have been inspired by. To be sparring with him within two years of turning professional was fantastic.
“The Ingle gym is iconic in Sheffield and the street next to the gym has been changed to Ingle way.
“That just shows the impact he had on the whole community and not just on boxing.
“Kid Galahad (European, British and Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion) was also doing a session in the gym.
“You see the memorabilia on the wall with the champions the Ingles have produced. It was so inspiring.”
During his time in Sheffield Sutherland also trained at the Steel City Boxing gym which is used by Charlie Edwards (WBC world flyweight champion), Sunny Edwards (British and European super-flyweight champion) and Lee McGregor (British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion)
It was all vital preparation for his own fight against Newcastle’s Basi Razaq who boasts a record of eight wins, one loss and one draw.
Sutherland said: “Razaq has a good record. Through the little clips I have seen he is very upright and likes to keep everything straight and works his jab.
“I will go into that fight very confident.”