A career of sacrifice will pay off when Billy Stuart takes to the ring to fight for the IBF Youth super-bantamweight title.
The 23-year-old undefeated Northern Sporting Club boxer will face Mexican Alejandro Jair Gonzalez for the vacant belt tomorrow.
Christmas, birthdays, a social life… all sacrificed throughout years of devotion to training and mastering his ring craft to reach this level.
Stuart, aka ‘The Butcher’, hopes to secure the prestigious international belt by knock-out, but is also prepared to go the distance.
The biggest bout of Stuart’s career to date, the 10-round title bout will be in front of 2.000 fans outdoors at Hamilton Academical’s New Douglas Park.
Broadcast live on Fightzone TV, the Aberdeen-trained fighter reckons it is the high-profile fight he has worked for.
He is confident it will be the springboard to even bigger title fights.
Stuart said: “It feels like this level of fight has been a long time coming and hopefully it is the start of bigger things.
“It is a good ranking title and will shoot me up the rankings. It will lead the way to even bigger fights.
“It has made all the sacrifice worthwhile.
“I have pretty much sacrificed my whole life for nights like this and hopefully it pays off.
“It is years and years of sacrifice, not just the weeks leading up to a fight.
“Boxing is a tough game, it is not easy being a professional boxer – or even an amateur.
“You miss everything… birthdays, events, even Christmas sometimes, but you just have to get on with it.
“That is just the way it is, because if you don’t put in that sacrifice you don’t get the reward.”
Exposure of live television broadcast
Boasting a flawless professional record of 10 wins from 10 fights (three by stoppage), Stuart recently signed with legendary promoter Dennis Hobson’s Fight Academy stable.
With more than 30 years of experience in boxing promotion, Hobson has overseen the rise to world title success of ring legends Ricky Hatton, David Haye and Clinton Woods.
The IBF Youth title shot is Stuart’s first fight since signing with Hobson.
He said: “Hopefully I get a bit of exposure with this, especially with it being on Fightzone and televised.
“There will be 2,000 fans inside New Douglas Park, so that is more exposure down in that area.”
No concern over ring rust for Stuart
Gonzalez has racked up nine wins (six stoppage), two losses (one stoppage) and two draws. He will constitute the biggest test of Stuart’s career to date.
Stuart will face Gonzalez over 10 rounds, despite not having not fought for more than 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His last bout was November 16 2019 when securing a points defeat of Brett Fidoe.
In contrast, Gonzalez has fought three times in the last year, registering back-to-back victories following a unanimous decision defeat to Bryan Mercado (17-1-0) in Mexico City last November.
Following a grueling training camp, which included a sparring session with WBC International silver bantamweight-holder Kash Farooq at Granite City ABC gym, Stuart is confident he can go 10 rounds if needed.
However, he aims to finish the title bout inside the distance to claim the belt.
Macduff’s Stuart, who trains in Aberdeen, said: “I am hoping to knock him out, but if I don’t then I get 10 rounds under my belt and will be fine with that.
“As long as I win and take the title. A win is a win.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of boxing for an extended period, Stuart has not fought since November 16, 2019 and for many months during lockdown gyms were also closed.
Stuart said: “It was frustrating as you do lose motivation and start thinking ‘what am I knocking my pan in for?’
“However, you just have to get on with it and keep working.
“All the hard work paid off as now I have a title fight.”
Fight scheduled for Aberdeen this year
Stuart will bid to secure his second professional belt, having won the vacant BUI super-bantamweight title in May 2019 with a points defeat of Dylan McDonagh.
He hopes the clash with Mexico City-based Gonzalez will not be his only title fight of this year with a bout in Aberdeen in November scheduled – with a belt potentially on the line.
Stuart said: “I want to do the job against Gonzalez and push on from that.
“I will fight again later this year as there is a show booked for November up here.
“Hopefully there will be another big title on the line there, but I have a job to do in Hamilton first.”
Aberdeen’s undefeated welterweight Dean Sutherland will also fight for a title on the card at Hamilton.
Boasting a pro record of 10 wins from 10 fights Sutherland, who trains alongside Stuart at Granite City ABC, will face Mexican Jose Antonio Delgado Velazquez for the WBO Youth title.
Stuart said: “Myself and Dean can both win youth titles and it will be another belt to add to our collections.”