Aberdeen boxing star Dean Sutherland is targeting a British title shot in 2024 after eight months of injury hell.
The 25-year-old has won three professional international titles, but has his sights on a major domestic belt before the end of year.
Southpaw Sutherland, aka Deadly, also wants a potential redemption shot for the Commonwealth title.
Sutherland suffered the only defeat of his pro career when losing a Commonwealth title fight to Louis Greene in November 2022.
Following an eight-month ring absence due to a shoulder problem, Sutherland is set to return to action in the Granite City this weekend.
He will top the bill at the Ardoe House Hotel when facing Columbian Fernando Mosquera.
In preparation for the bout, Sutherland trained at Churchill Gym in London.
During the training camp, the Aberdonian sparred with world title contender Kamil Szeremeta.
Sutherland said: “I want to pick up another international title this year and push towards a big domestic one – either the British or Commonwealth title.
“The British title is one that I really want.
“My aspirations are to win big, major titles that will change my life.
“I’m a competitor and want to go up against the absolute best in my field.
“I want to have a legacy.”
Battling back from injury setback
Sutherland has not fought since defeating Zimbabwe’s Brendon Denes at the Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, in June last year.
He stopped former WBC Intercontinental super-lightweight champion Denes in the seventh round.
Sutherland was set to pack in another two fights in 2023 – but had to put those plans on ice due to injury.
He said: “I’m absolutely buzzing for the fight after the frustration of my injury last year.
“I had a slight issue with my rotator cuff, then tendonitis and ligament damage in my shoulder as well.
“I picked it up in the previous year and injured it more in my fight last February.
“Throughout my training camp, it was chipping away and getting worse and worse in the build up to the June fight.
“I had invested too much time to pull out of that fight, so I just had to get through that fight and get it sorted afterwards.
“The physio said: ‘The good news is you are not going to need surgery, but the bad news is you are not going to fight again this year’.
“It was extremely frustrating as I had two dates planned in to fight after the June fight, then I had that all knocked on the head to stop for six months.
“However, I learned lessons from it that will only help me in my career.
“It was a good period of time to take a step back and really have a look at what I want to achieve in this sport.
“Now my shoulder is fully recovered.”
Sparring with world-class opposition
In preparation for this weekend’s fight, Sutherland sparred with world title contender Kamil Szeremeta in a bid to start the year with a bang.
Polish fighter Szeremeta lost an IBO and IBF world title fight to ring legend Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1) in Hollywood in December 2020.
His only other loss in 27 fights has been to undefeated Jaime Munguia (36-0-0).
Sutherland said: “I was down for the second half of my training camp in London for just shy of five weeks.
“It was a great camp – I was training out of the Churchill Gym in Lambeth, which is a top quality gym.
“Lambeth is really central and only about a five minute walk from the London Eye.
“I got some good quality sparring against two top-quality Polish fighters.
“One is 17 and and one, and the other (Szeremeta) is 26-and-two, and his only two defeats were to Jaime Munguia and Gennadiy Golovkin.
“He has been right up at the very top and that sparring was exactly what I needed to finish off my training camp.”