A FAM­ILY AF­FAIR

Bate­son is ready to de­but, with the help of his loved ones, writes Ge­orge Gigney

Boxing News - - News -

FOR­MER am­a­teur stand­out Jack Bate­son makes his pro­fes­sional de­but on Fri­day (Septem­ber 1) as he pre­pares to kick off his paid ca­reer in style – on one of his dad’s pro­mo­tions.

His fa­ther, Mark Bate­son, has been pro­mot­ing shows in Leeds for years, and when Jack de­cided that he was go­ing to turn over, the 23-year-old made sure he was on this card in the Leeds United FC Ban­quet­ing Suite at El­land Road.

“I’m re­ally happy with how prepa­ra­tions have gone. It’s great to be back home train­ing with my dad and my un­cle [Martin] and the rest of my team,” the fly­weight told Box­ing News.

“I’ve sold a load of tick­ets for this fight, with it be­ing in Leeds, and I just can’t wait to get in there now. I’m re­ally ex­cited to start the jour­ney.

“My dad’s pro­mot­ing the show, he’s been pro­mot­ing shows for about 18 years, so I’ve grown up watch­ing his shows and I’ve al­ways dreamt of fight­ing on one of them, so for me it was only right to start the jour­ney there. I can ful­fil a dream be­fore I, hope­fully, go on and ful­fil more.”

An Euro­pean bronze medal­list, Bate­son was in con­tention to box at

‘IT WAS ONLY RIGHT TO START THE JOUR­NEY ON MY DAD’S SHOW’

Rio 2016. How­ever, Muham­mad Ali pulled out of their box-off in a GB cham­pi­onship fi­nal, and Ali was then sent to a qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment over Bate­son and booked his place at the Games.

Bate­son is, nat­u­rally, still ag­grieved about the missed op­por­tu­nity, but he in­sists it will not hin­der his ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional.

“Look­ing back, I’m proud of what I achieved, but I feel I was held back a bit from achiev­ing more. I didn’t go to the Olympic Games,” he said.

“It was a bit­ter pill to swal­low. My ca­reer might have been dif­fer­ent now, but I’m happy with what I achieved as an am­a­teur, I had five years on the GB squad, I won Euro­pean bronze, two ABA ti­tles. That’s all his­tory now, I’ve got to make a new name for my­self.

“I’ve got a lot to prove. Even though I had over 100 am­a­teur fights, I’ve got to prove my­self again from scratch and re­ally make a name of my­self. I’m look­ing for­ward to start­ing fresh, I’ve got my old team be­hind me who got me to where I was as an am­a­teur in the first place. I’m look­ing for­ward to start­ing this new jour­ney and tak­ing a good crack at it.”

Bate­son en­ters the paid ranks at an en­cour­ag­ing time for box­ing in Leeds, with feath­er­weight Josh War­ring­ton draw­ing huge crowds as he pur­sues a world ti­tle shot, and dou­ble Olympic cham­pion Ni­cola Adams blaz­ing a trail for women’s box­ing.

He is al­ready be­gin­ning to ex­pe­ri­ence that pas­sion­ate home sup­port, and hopes to be a part of a new wave of tal­ent fight­ing out of Leeds.

“That’s what spurs us Leeds fans on. Fans in Leeds re­ally get be­hind some­one and us box­ers,” he con­tin­ued.

“In box­ing, peo­ple can be a bit self­ish and sup­port their own, but in Leeds they get be­hind ev­ery­one, they all get be­hind Josh, they all get be­hind Ni­cola, now that suc­cess is start­ing to come for me and there’s a good bunch com­ing through and hope­fully over the next few years you’ll see a lot of great fight­ers come out of the area.”

He in­sists he is no rush at the mo­ment, and is happy to get some pro­fes­sional rounds un­der his belt as he moves to­wards ti­tle level in the com­ing years.

He said: “In my mind, in a few years, I want to be push­ing for ti­tles, but I’m not in a com­plete rush. I’ve had three WSB [World Se­ries of Box­ing] fights, which should stand me in good stead, but for now I’m learn­ing the game. I’m go­ing to fight of­ten, maybe six to eight times a year, hope­fully get a good team be­hind me and push on. I know I’ve got a long way to go, it’s ex­cit­ing times.”

Photo: AC­TION IMAGES/AN­DREW COULDRIDGE

TURN­ING OVER: Bate­son launches a jab at Char­lie Ed­wards dur­ing the 2014 ABA fi­nal

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