Aberdeen boxer Dean Sutherland wants to be a qualified sparky by next June – before turning sparking people out into his full-time job.
Sutherland, 20, has a flawless record to show for his first year as a professional fighter, with four wins from four fights.
His last, a 55-second knock-out over Englishman Vinny Atkins, which saw him move up to around 30th in the British rankings, once more confirmed his rapid progression since making the switch from a title-laden kickboxing career.
“Deadly” Sutherland, who has decided he will stick at welterweight after toying with the idea of moving down to super lightweight or up to super welter, has one big aim for the new year – to crack the top 20, collecting any belts as collateral damage along the way.
He said: “I’m starting to get a lot more into the transition of being a full-time professional boxer. It’s just taken a wee bit to sink in.
“I’m really enjoying it, my training’s going well, I’m getting the weight off my legs with a lot of running, a lot of miles – between six and 10 a day.
“Kicking all the time builds up the muscles, which is extra weight. When you’re kicking that’s useful, but when you’re just using your legs to move about it can be a waste of energy.
“It can drag me down in the later rounds when you want your movement to be good.”
On his resolved weight class dilemma, Kynoch Boxing-managed Sutherland and his team at Sky Axe gym in Dundee again considered the fighter’s energy levels.
Sutherland said: “We thought about super lightweight (63kg) but we’re going to stick at welterweight (66kg).
“I feel more comfortable and for more endurance purposes that’s better suited to me.
“I reckon I could make super lightweight, but as the rounds are going up and my opponents are getting tougher, it could be detrimental to my performance on the night.
“I’m quite a compact welterweight, not a big tall one, so I don’t think endurance will be a problem at all at welterweight.”
Sutherland thinks being slightly smaller works to his advantage at welter, adding: “It suits me. My last opponent was six foot two and had a bigger reach.
“I’ve got good footwork and head movement, so if they’re committed with their long-range jabs, as soon as I get inside then that’s when my bigger shots start to land.”
However, it is his frame which has ruled out the jump up to 69kg.
Sutherland explained: “I sparred a guy Kieran Smith a wee while ago. He just won the WBC international silver super welterweight title.
“It was to make sure it was right to be fighting at welterweight, because he’s a big super welterweight.
“The size difference, even just one category above, you could see the difference between him and myself.
“It showed I need to keep my running and diet in check.
“His stature, size – I was only up to his chin. His reach was a lot longer, his legs were longer.
“It was a lot more of a thinking spar.
“The top guys in that division might just have been too big.
“In the later rounds the natural stature and size of them would’ve taken over.
“It’s settled in my mind welter will be the category I will be competing in – and I’ll compete a lot more regularly.”
Sparring with fellow welterweights has, however, shown Sutherland he’s got the ability to beat title-holders.
He has been happy with his showings in training bouts with Scottish champion Ally Black and British Challenger champion Martin Harkin.
Sutherland, who is now in a position he says suits his counter-punching style – fighting men like Atkins who will attack him instead of trying to survive – said: “I’m definitely holding my own and improving, improving, improving.”
There’s no doubt improvements will intensify once Sutherland can get away from working full-time as an apprentice electrician on top of driving back and forth to Dundee for training.
He said: “I was waiting to speak to my boss just after Christmas to see about going for my final test.
“There’s just a couple of things I want to get a wee bit more experienced on before I go for my test, but I’ve set a deadline of June 1 for being finished my apprenticeship and in training full-time.”
In the ring, Sutherland has two more bouts scheduled against as-yet-unnamed opponents.
He’ll fight on February 9 at the Paisley Lagoon Centre, before a match-up at the Trump Turnberry resort on March 2, with both fights over six rounds.