Westway’s Shaun Ireland is putting in the hard yards as he looks to sign off as an amateur with success at the ABAs.
Ireland, who has just returned from a successful trip to Berlin to tackle former world under-17s champion Theo Krechlok, is casting his eye towards the professional ranks, but has success in the ABA’s on his mind at present.
The Westway man has been training with local strength and conditioning coach Danny Hague as he looks to get ready for the championships.
Ireland said: “Berlin was the perfect preparation for the ABAs.
“To fight without a headguard for the first time was great and to fight someone of the ability I did was great for me.
“It was a good scrap and it gave me confidence that I can operate at that level.
“From working with Danny I feel a lot fitter and a lot stronger.
“My legs feel stronger and my conditioning is better.
“Danny has been great with me.
“He’s offered me loads of advice on nutrition, he really knows his stuff.”
Hague added: “Shaun has been fantastic in the sessions and is really receptive to everything I show him.
“He’s got superb hand speed, it’s just a case of building up the power behind his shots now and it’s going really well.
“He’s developing all the time and has come on loads.”
Ireland harbours high hopes for the upcoming ABAs and beyond.
He added: “Obviously the aim is to go all the way, but a lot of it depends on the luck of the draw.
“I certainly want to progress in the Yorkshires, it’s then just taking it one round at a time after that and seeing how we get on.”
The lightweight isn’t the only Westway fighter directing their gaze towards the flashing lights of the professional ranks.
Clubmates Ross Downie, George Horner and George Rhodes Jnr could follow Ireland at the same time.
“There’s a good chance of a few of us turning pro this year,” he added. “We all impressed in Germany and are full of confidence.”