Islington boxer Billy Underwood is targeting the latter stages of the upcoming Haringey Box Cup, and believes a successful tournament will provide him with vital experience for when he competes professionally.
Underwood, who fights out of Lion ABC in Hoxton, is set to make his first appearance in the prestigious European tournament this weekend at Alexandra Palace following Friday’s draw.
The welterweight has forged a name for himself within the amateur ranks as one of the tougher competitors, having faced some of England’s brightest prospects, including Jimmy Smith of Repton ABC and Dale Youth’s Zak Chelli and Daniel Dubois.
With the cup expected to draw some of the most established names across the UK and beyond, Underwood insists he is relishing the prospect of testing himself against the best.
He said: ‘It’s my first time competing in the tournament and I can’t wait to get going.
‘I’ve been planning for it for months, and I’m in fantastic condition. Now that it’s only a few days away, the adrenaline is starting to kick in, and I just can’t wait to get into the ring and show everyone what I can do.
‘The cup attracts some of the best up-and-comers in the country, so you can never expect an easy draw. But I’ve pushed myself to the limits in the build-up to this and I believe I’m ready for anyone.’
Underwood, who has won 13 of his 21 amateur bouts, was invited to spar with former British champion Kevin Mitchell and former Team GB boxer Martin J Ward last month.
Although he is only focusing on the upcoming box cup, the 17-year-old admits that the sessions with the pros have made him even hungrier to succeed, and that this weekend will act as a sounding board for his future ambitions.
He added: ‘A lot of my mates have been involved in the cup in the past and have done well, and I want to emulate them and go as far as possible.
‘Everyone knows what the cup is about, and you only have to look at the names who have competed in it before who have gone on to do great things.
‘I have a lot to do yet before even thinking of stepping up, but it’s something that I’m definitely interested in.
‘I believe that I have the talent and the attitude to succeed, so Friday will provide a massive test for me, and I can’t wait for it.’