Sixteen-year-old Owen Shaw is preparing for the fight of his life this weekend, as the amateur boxer aims to take a step closer to national glory.
The West Nottinghamshire College computer science student will represent the East Midlands after being crowned East Midlands Development Champion.
The pre-quarter finals take place this Sunday in Cotgrave, Nottingham.
Owen, who joined West Notts this academic year on the Level 3 IT Infrastructure course, has had great success in the last few weeks with his blossoming boxing career.
Last month, Owen, who fights out of Langwith Amateur Boxing Club, triumphed in the East Midlands Boxing Development semi-finals in a fight against Grimsby Amateur Boxing Club’s Matthew Hooper and won his bout on a split decision.
Owen then moved into the final of the championships in Cleethorpes to face Arnold School of Boxing’s Kory Harkin where he boxed really well, winning all three rounds to take the title of East Midlands Development Champion.
Rooting for him for this Sunday’s fight is his biggest fan, dad Robert Shaw, who is also the college’s sport development team leader.
Rob said: “He’s been amazing and gone from strength to strength.
“When I first took Owen to a boxing club two years ago, I told the coaches that I really didn’t think he’d fight – he’d train but not actually fight.
“But he’s done it and I’ve supported him all the way. It’s a bitter-sweet thing to see him fight in the ring!
“The semi-finals was a really close fight, and he got the decision made on a split. He did brilliantly.
“His fight last Sunday in the final really was his best performance to date and I’m very confident he’ll do well this week.
“His hunger for these championships has been fabulous and it’s such a great opportunity.”
Owen is using this week as a time to train hard and focus.
Fighting in the weight category 57-60kg, he’ll be eating well and upping his training sessions until he gets in the ring on Sunday. He has to remain within that weight range to compete.
Owen said: “I’m pretty confident about the fight – I train hard and I’m working well on being disciplined.
“I’ll be wearing the East Midlands vest, which I won in the last round.
“This is highly-sought-after in boxing and all boxers want a vest. I can’t wait to get to the fight and get more exposure and experience.”
Meanwhile, as well as supporting his son, Rob is busy getting a college boxing initiative lined up for other students who are considering taking up the sport.
Partnering with Langwith Amateur Boxing Club, the college aims to work towards hosting a range of GB awards, covering both non-contact and semi-contact boxing at bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels.
The awards will enable people who have never boxed before to try it out and learn about stance, guard, the training and exercise involved, as well as the intense discipline which is required.
Rob added: “The project will help our students to concentrate outside of the classroom, get fit through a new sport and it will be a pathway to move into club sessions if they want to work at the next level.
“There will be the opportunity to become an official ‘carded’ boxer, affiliated with England Boxing.
“It may be that Owen and other boxers that attend the college can help support newcomers with some pad work, and be an ambassador for the project, showing how discipline and determination can move you forwards and let him be an inspiration for other budding new boxers.”