Light heavyweight star Ollie Pattison will begin his new season on Sunday in pursuit of a national title – but insists that he is yet to make a decision on his long-term future.
The two-time Box Cup gold medalist has enjoyed a well-travelled amateur career across Europe and America, winning an impressive 42 of his 53 bouts, but is cautious about stepping into the paid ranks before he is ready.
Pattison’s preparation for the weekend, in what will also be his first fight of the new term, included a sparring session with Olympic champion and old Finchley boxing club-mate, Anthony Joshua.
And having also previously trained with WBA International Heavyweight champion, Dereck Chisora – as well as twice sparring at Floyd Mayweather’s gym, Pattison believes that the advice given by his colleagues will help shape his decision for when he does decide to step-up and compete professionally.
‘It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your career.’ He said.
‘You see a lot of guys who’ve had fantastic amateur careers but step-up too soon before they’re ready and subsequently suffer later on.
‘The problem for amateurs is that there isn’t a lot of financial support for them. It becomes a case of having to step-up just so they can bring in a wage, and ultimately they end up underselling their potential.
‘I’ve learnt a lot and added so much to my game – physically and mentally – from just being in the same gym as the likes of AJ (Anthony Joshua) and Dereck (Chisora). You realise how close you are to your dream and that it is possible, if you do it right.
‘I’ve also had the opportunity to box all over the world; I’ve trained in Floyd Mayweather’s gym and have fought in Las Vegas which was was an incredible experience.
‘It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve had a fantastic education, and I’m not prepared to throw that all away through temptation and allowing money to sway my decision.
‘Like anyone, I want to go to the top and, fortunately, I have a solid record behind me and I’m not in a position where I have to rush this decision or be forced into stepping-up.’
The 23-year-old will mark the season-opener by facing-off against one of his toughest rivals yet in an opponent from the Irish national team at the O2 Arena.
Unfazed, though, he just can’t wait to return to the ring following a long summer without boxing.
And just in-case this does prove to be his final year in the amateur ranks, Pattison is keen to land a national title and go out with a flourish.
He added: ‘It’ll feel great to be back in there.
‘You can train as much you like, but you can’t replace that buzz of walking out and stepping-in there.
‘Such is amateur boxing, you don’t always know who you’re going to be fighting. A lot of the time you’re just given an address and time to be there! But I love that side of it. It teaches you to train for every fight like it’s a championship.
‘I’ve fought against a lot of different styles which have only added to my game, and this one won’t be any different.
‘I want to end the year with a national title. I know I’m good enough to, so that’s the minimum I’m aiming for.
‘The heavyweights usually get a lot of attention and people are always looking to them to provide the next champion, so hopefully I can be the next one for Finchley.
‘I love testing myself, though, so Sunday will certainly do that. It’s an amazing venue (the O2), and it’ll be a great chance for fans and locals to check out who’s coming through the ranks.’
Tickets for the fight can be bought on the night at the O2. For more information, tweet Ollie at @1PunchPattison or email firstname.lastname@example.org.