Lion ABC teenager looking forward to professional debut

Billy Underwood in action for Lion ABC at the Haringey Box Cup

Billy Underwood in action for Lion ABC at the Haringey Box Cup - Credit: Archant

Teenager Billy Underwood is content to bide his time as he prepares to take his professional bow at York Hall next month.

The 19-year-old middleweight from Islington, previously a successful amateur with Lion ABC, will fight over four rounds on a February 11 Dove Box Promotions show.

Underwood, who was a national quarter-finalist and silver medallist at the Haringey Box Cup, had originally intended to turn over more than a year ago.

But he was persuaded by others – including his new manager, Alfie Warren, to remain in the amateur ranks a little longer – and the teenager is grateful for that.

“I was willing to go pro as soon as I turned 18,” Underwood told the Gazette. “I felt I’d boxed everyone I could at my weight and the one above and participated in every competition I could.

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“When I was training I started mixing with the pros, getting some good sparring with people like Georgie Kean, Ohara Davies and Joe Pigford, and I was really motivated to turn over.

“I’ve known Alfie a long time and he told me I should take another year. It’s probably a good thing because I’ve grown into the weight, I feel comfortable with it and my strength’s come on a lot more.

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“Sparring with the pros has shown me what’s coming, it showed me not to rush – and I’m still not going to rush now.

“In the short term it’s just about learning the trade, getting the rounds in and gaining experience. If you keep winning, you’ll get yourself in the right position to win titles.”

Underwood won his Haringey Box Cup medal as a welterweight before stepping up to middleweight for his tilt at the National Association of Boys and Girls’ Clubs Championship.

That brought him a London title and a place in the national quarter-finals, but Underwood – who now trains at West Ham with Harry Andrews – is aiming to box at light-middleweight in the long term.

And he would one day love to follow in the footsteps of another boxer – and fellow redhead – who has proved his world-class credentials at all three of those weights, Mexican star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

“Canelo is someone I watch all the time – and everyone at the gym calls me that as well!” added Underwood. “I try and base my movement on him – if I could do half the stuff he does I’d be very happy.”

For tickets to see Underwood in action on February 11, call 07392 851 166.

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