Sutton boxer Nico Leivars believes he has what it takes to go all the way to the England National Amateur Championships title in his first year in the senior ranks.
The 19-year-old, who trains with dad Julian at the Quarry Lane Boxing Club in Mansfield and boxes for the famous Hoddesdon Academy in Hertfordshire, has enjoyed a successful season so far.
He has won a number of Box Cups, including the prestigious King of the Ring competition in Sweden in November, and has also landed an English title.
Now the former All Saints Academy student aims to cap an excellent last few months by becoming a national champion in the under-56kgs weight category.
Leivars has been training hard for the quarter finals and semi-finals at the Harvey Hadden Sports Village in Nottingham this weekend when he will aim for a place at finals day in Manchester on Saturday, April 13.
He said: “My aim is to be the best in the country and to call myself a national champion. Getting to this stage has been 11 years in the making. It’s not really a sacrifice, it’s a lifestyle.
“You can’t do it for a bit and then come off it. Even when you haven’t got a bout, you are still training and still watching your weight and eating the right foods.
“I have won titles at junior and youth levels, so now I want to show I can do it as a senior boxer as well.”
The Mansfield Town fan has been supplementing his work at Quarry Lane with extra sessions at the gym in Hoddesdon, under the direction of head coach Sab Leo.
Leivars already has more than 80 bouts to his name, which he believes will help him against experienced opponents, some of whom could be twice his age.
He said: “My first senior bout was against a German international who was 35 and had been boxing on the international circuit for 15 years against Olympians. I beat him, so if you are good enough you are old enough.
“I turn up 100 per cent focused on what I’m going to do, not worrying about my opponents. I make sure I’m sharp and ready to go, and let everyone else worry about me.”