Jack Bateson insists that he’ll be ready for next month’s English title, despite suffering a series of cuts in Friday night’s win over Khvicha Gigolashvili, writes JACOB KILBRIDE.
Bateson will compete for the English super bantamweight title against champion Michael Ramabeletsa on the undercard to Josh Warrington’s world-title defence against Sofiane Takoucht at the First Direct Arena on October 12.
In preparation for the contest, Bateson faced Gigolashvili over six rounds, with the Leeds fighter winning a clear 60-54 points decision at the Elland Road Pavilion.
But, it proved hard to come by, with the Lithuanian’s come-forward style leaving Bateson with a bruised left eye, a cut on the right side of his forehead and a swollen hand.
The Leeds boxer has just five weeks now until his first professional title bout and admitted that the injuries suffered were far from ideal preparation.
“It’s not ideal to have come away with the little nick,” Bateson told the YEP. “But I’m glad that this fight is out of the way and I’m going to be fine in five weeks’ time. It’s not ideal, but I’ve been told that it’s not too bad. This is boxing, at the end of the day. If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.
“It’s not going to affect my fight in five weeks; I’m going straight back into training on Monday. I’ve had a good camp for this fight, so I feel like I’m already ahead of where I need to be. It’s not ideal, of course, but we’ll work with it and we’ll keep working. Listen, that belt is coming home. I don’t care what it takes to do it.”
In spite of the injuries suffered, the former Team GB amateur showcased his classy boxing skills at several points in the contest – a reminder to his natural talent inside the ring.
“Until watching it back, it’s hard to assess my own performance too much,” Bateson added. “It took me a while to get into the fight. In the first three rounds I was overthinking a lot. It’s hard not to think about the big one – the English title fight. I held my feet a bit too long. I got the cut in the third and I thought ‘sod it, let’s go fight him’. My boxing skills came out from that point onwards and I should have done that a lot earlier.”
He added: “It’s a good learning experience. Once I got my flow, I felt good.
“I don’t regret taking the fight. The type of opponent that he was, he came and did things that a lot of my other opponents haven’t done.
“He came forward, took some good shots and kept coming forward.
“But, I won every round, caught him with some big shots and it’s always good to get those rounds in.”