Leeds’s newest boxing pro Damo Jones says he will repay Frank Warren’s faith in the ultimate style by one day bringing a world championship back to Leeds.
In the meantime, the city’s recently-crowned English welterweight champion, Adil Anwar, is on the radar for Jones.
Jones, just 18, will make his professional debut at Liverpool Arena on Friday, December 9 – his first fight since signing a three-year deal with top promoter/manager Warren.
The Leeds teenager’s opponent is not yet known but the card features illustrious boxing names James Degale and George Groves, who will be defending European and Commonwealth titles respectively.
But while Jones admits to being naturally nervous, the reigning senior ABA welterweight champion is convinced that in years to come he, too, can be a household boxing name.
The Leeds boxer insists he will remain fully focused under the guidance of coach Danny Thornton at West Leeds ABC and even in light of his professional deal, the former Wortley High School pupil remains living in the gym’s on-site digs.
Long term, though, there is no denying the teenage sensation’s burning ambition to achieve bigger and better things.
“I want to be a world champion,” Jones told LS1 this week.
“The training and dedication that I put in is amazing with the time and everything and I am going all out to be a world champion.
“I can’t wait to make my professional debut but I’m still living down here at West Leeds, just so I can focus on the training.
“We don’t want to get sidetracked or anything and just want to keep focused on the job in hand.”
That first job in hand is now just 13 days away with Jones still awaiting the identity of his first professional opponent.
Either way, the fight will be screened live on Box Nation TV – with the Leeds boxer desperate to make a striking first impression.
“I’m nervous but I’m excited at the same time,” said Jones, who is still seeking sponsorship.
“It’s time for me to make a name for myself now.
“The whole process of turning pro started about a couple of months ago but we didn’t want to say anything just in case it backfired.
“But I’m still walking around buzzing and I just want to get my first fight out of the way.
“Frank Warren is the biggest name in the country and he’s also got shares in the Box Nation channel that’s on Sky.
“So every time I fight on one of his shows I will be in Box Nation so that’s about six or seven times a year.
“Everyone at the club is loving it and they can’t wait to watch me in my first pro fight.”
It has been an amazing turnaround for Jones – always a highly- talented amateur but one who got sidetracked by distractions outside the ring after leaving school – so much so that he almost hung up his gloves.
“That all seems miles away now and I’d never think like that again,” said Jones, who emulated Joe Calzaghe in winning his senior ABA welterweight crown.
“This is a dream come true and it’s what I have always wanted – to become a pro boxer.
“For my first fight to also be televised and to be on such a big stage is unreal.”
It will also be another feather in the cap of Leeds boxing – just a month on from the city’s Anwar being crowned English welterweight champion in Manchester.
But no sooner had Anwar secured the belt then there is somebody planning to snare it –- and a boxing companion from Leeds.
“I used to train with Adil a few years ago,” said Jones. “And that could be a fight down the line.
“You never know what’s going to happen but he’s welterweight and I’m welterweight though I’ve obviously got a few fights to prove myself yet.
“Only time will tell but I’m sure there’ll be a fight in a few years’ time.”