Undefeated Aberdeen welterweight Dean Sutherland aims to take another step closer to emulating mentor Gary Jacobs by claiming Commonwealth title glory.
Boasting a flawless record of seven wins from seven fights, Sutherland is to face Willie Warburton at the Lagoon Leisure Centre, Paisley, tonight.
Former multiple world kick- boxing champion Sutherland was set to meet the durable Warburton over six rounds.
The clash is a precursor to the biggest fight of his pro career to date when boxing in a Commonwealth welterweight title eliminator at the Hilton Treetops Hotel on Saturday November 16.
Should Sutherland, 20, win that home city fight he will have one more final eliminator to negotiate to set up a meeting with reigning Commonwealth champion Chris Jenkins.
Title-holder Jenkins is set to defend the title late next month but if his opponent calls off for any reason, “Deadly” Sutherland is ready to step in.
The Commonwealth welterweight belt was held by ring legend Jacobs, who has helped Sutherland since turning pro.
Glasgow’s Jacobs won the Commonwealth, European and British titles in the 1980s and early 1990s and also fought for the WBC world title.
Sutherland said: “I have that target of the Commonwealth eliminator.
“I know the person who holds the belt will be fighting at the end of November.
“The main thing for me is to get this eliminator out of the way and be straight on his tail.
“There will not be any break for me and as soon as I have done my fight I will be straight back into training again.
“If he has a pull-out for his fight at the end of November I would be the first one to put my hands up to fight him.
“If I get this opportunity I am not going to let go of it. I will hunt it down until I get my chance.”
Having switched from a dominant career in kick-boxing last year southpaw Sutherland has already secured a title.
He defeated Ireland’s previously unbeaten Keane McMahon 78-74 to claim the vacant Boxing Union of Ireland (BUI) Celtic belt at the Aberdeen Hilton Treetops in May.
Although there is a defined route to a Commonwealth title shot, Sutherland refuses to look beyond tonight’s opponent.
He offers up Anthony Joshua’s shock world title loss to Andy Ruiz Jnr as a cautionary tale.
He said: “The fight in Paisley was supposed to be against an opponent with a positive record but unfortunately there were three pull-outs.
“I have to face off against a journeyman but he is a good level of journeyman.
“I cannot overlook my opponent in Paisley because he is a very good puncher and has a couple of knock-outs on his record as well.
“He is a good defensive journeyman so I am approaching it as a dangerous fight and one I have to go into fully prepared to do my absolute best.
“There is no way I will become complacent as I still have a job to do.
“The most recent example you can see of that is the Anthony Joshua fight against Andy Ruiz.
“Joshua appeared to be already looking ahead to the big fight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.
“I don’t think he gave Ruiz the respect he deserved.
“It only takes one punch to change things so I am fully concentrated on this fight.”
Sutherland is ready to take fights against opponents with positive records to rocket up the rankings.
He overcame McMahon, who previously boasted a 100% record of six wins from six.
Sutherland also stopped Vinny Atkins, who had a record of five wins and one loss.
He said: “I have moved quicker up the rankings than I anticipated and it was probably quicker to get the first belt than I initially thought.
“There are loads of young prospects coming through and unless you are able to stand out from the crowd you will not push in either direction.
“I have to take more risks and have more 50-50 fights than many other young prospects.”