Undefeated welterweight champion Dean Sutherland aims to put Aberdeen on the boxing map by fighting for major titles in his home city.
The 23-year-old will box for the WBC Silver International welterweight title in a top of the bill bout at the Beach Ballroom on Friday, November 12.
Sutherland will face Italian Michele Esposito for the vacant WBC title in a bout that will be broadcast live on Fightzone.
Esposito, a former Italian title holder, has a pro record of 18 wins (six by knock-out), four losses and one draw.
Sutherland stopped Mexican Jose Antonio Delgado Velazquez in the seventh round in Hamilton in July to secure the WBO Youth welterweight title.
He aims to make the Granite City a hotbed for boxing with major title fights and glory days.
Sutherland said: “The WBC International Silver belt is another massive title and I will go up against a tough Italian.
“I am going to go put in a brilliant performance in front of my home crowd and pick up another title.
“Then I will be straight on to Davie (McAllister, trainer), my manager Sam Kynoch and my promoter Dennis Hobson asking when can I get the next title fight and big show in Aberdeen.
“I want to put Aberdeen on the British boxing map and make sure it is the hotbed for boxing that everyone wants to see.
“The talent we have here in Aberdeen is brilliant. Billy Stuart, who is also on the card at the Beach Ballroom, is an exceptional talent and Jason (Harty) and Edward (Donovan) have just signed for Northern Sporting Club and will be fighting here more often.
“In Scotland there are a lot of young, hungry fighters who are looking for opportunities and the shows that Dennis is putting on will give them a platform.
“There will be a really talented roster of fighters at the Beach Ballroom.
“If I can be one of the frontrunners and help push Aberdeen and Scottish boxing back up I would be delighted to do that.
“However from an individual point of view I also want to win more titles.”
Opponents dodged WBO Youth defence
Boasting a flawless professional return of 11 wins from 11 fights, with three stoppages, Sutherland overcame highly rated Mexican Velazquez to secure the WBO Youth welterweight title at New Douglas Park, Hamilton this summer.
Southpaw Sutherland, aka ‘Deadly’ revealed he was initially set to defend his WBO Youth title but potential opponents dodged the match-up.
He said: “I’m delighted to finally get the it (WBC International Silver) over the line as there was a great deal of frustration as I was supposed to defend the WBO Youth title.
“Eight fighters didn’t take it. Absolutely nothing was coming back from those fighters.
“Maybe I have a different mindset to most other boxers.
“If I was offered a title fight and an opportunity of a World Youth title I would grab it with both hands in any circumstance.
“I don’t understand the mindset of some other boxers. Maybe they are looking to pad their record a little and coast through their career.
“However I am looking for bigger and better things and am not going to get there by standing still fighting journeymen or taking a step down.
“Doing that was never, ever an option.”
Rapid rise after changing disciplines
A former multiple weight world champion at kick-boxing, Sutherland switched disciplines in 2018 and made his debut that year with a stoppage of Victor Edagha.
A first professional title quickly followed in May 2019 when overcoming previously undefeated Keane McMahon to win the vacant BUI Celtic welterweight title.
However that relentless momentum was stalled when boxing went into cold storage during the coronavirus lockdown.
On his first fight after the lockdown Sutherland took the biggest bout of his career without any warm up contests when facing Velazquez for the WBO Youth title.
Injury setback couldn’t derail title dream
The title victory was all the more impressive as Sutherland suffered two ligament Grade 1 tears in a foot in the build up to the fight.
Sutherland admits he feared the injury would blow the title shot but, with his team, came up with a plan to keep the belt bid alive.
He said: “After the lockdown I needed to come back with a big statement.
“I made changes. I changed gym, had a couple of personal decisions and made so many sacrifices.
“Then I suffered an injury in the build up to the fight.
“As soon as it happened it was a horrible feeling.
“I was out running and did a 5k which was really slow.
“I still had to run back but couldn’t do it. I had to get picked up on the way back and I thought this is done now – it’s not going to work.
— Fightzone (@fightzonetv) July 31, 2021
“As soon as I got home, calmed down and got ice on it I then spoke to Davie (McAllister) and Andrew (Usher) my strength and conditioning coach at Evolved Performance.
“We sat down and came up with a game plan. Although I wasn’t able to do impact work there were other cardio sessions I could do.
“I changed my diet, took vitamins, everything possible to do it but even on fight night it was still not 100 percent.
“Even in my head I wasn’t 100 percent with it and I had it strapped up so no-one could see it.
“As soon as I got out under the lights though I knew it was my time.
“I had done so much hard work in the build up I wasn’t going to let anything like that stop me.
“If anyone thinks that was a good performance (against Velazquez) they are in for a shock on November 12.”