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Lion ABC welterweight Billy Underwood believes this weekend’s Haringey Box Cup will provide a valuable benchmark if he decides to turn professional in the future.

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Underwood, who lives in Islington, is making his debut at the prestigious tournament, which starts tomorrow (Friday) at Alexandra Palace, and says he is relishing the chance to test himself against the best.

The 17-year-old said: “I can’t wait to get going. I’ve been planning for it for months, and I’m in fantastic condition.

“Now the adrenaline is starting to kick in, and I just can’t wait to get into the ring and show everyone what I can do.

“The cup attracts some of the best up-and-comers in the country, so you can never expect an easy draw. But I’ve pushed myself to the limits in the build-up to this and I believe I’m ready for anyone.”

Underwood has developed a reputation as one of the tougher competitors around after facing the likes of Jimmy Smith (Repton ABC) and Dale Youth ABC duo Zak Chelli and Daniel Dubois.

He has won 13 of his 21 amateur bouts to date and was recently invited to spar with former British and Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Kevin Mitchell.

“A lot of my mates have been involved in the cup in the past and have done well, and I want to emulate them and go as far as possible,” added Underwood.

“Everyone knows what the cup is about, and you only have to look at the names who have competed in it before who have gone on to do great things.

“I have a lot to do yet before even thinking of stepping up, but it’s something that I’m definitely interested in. I believe that I have the talent and the attitude to succeed.”

Lion ABC have also entered London youth champion and national semi-finalist Louis Isaacs for the tournament, which runs until Sunday.

Islington BC have a total of eight entries in the Haringey Box Cup. Reece Shagourie, Hazel Gale (both Under-75kg) and Cherrelle Brown (Under-64kg) box in the Class A section, with Sherif Musah (Under-86kg), Elena Narazanski (Under-69kg) and Troy Smart (Under-56kg) at Class B, and Charlotte Briant (Under-75kg) and Jack Rowe (Under-81kg) at Class C.

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