Boxer Ross Burkinshaw is tipping wins for two South Yorkshire fighters who are on the same bill this coming Saturday, but at different crossroads in their careers.
Curtis Woodhouse hopes to bring the curtain down on his eight-year career by achieving his dream of winning the British title.
The 33-year-old former Sheffield United footballer turned boxer takes on domestic light welterweight title holder Darren Hamilton.
While Gavin McDonnell, the 27-year-old Doncaster scrapper contests the British super bantamweight title with Nottingham’s Leigh Wood, who has learned his trade in the Ingle gym in Sheffield.
Referring to Woodhouse’s contest at the Ice Arena, Hull, and talking on video at thestar.co.uk, Burkinshaw said: “I am looking forward to it, I have never seen him train so hard. He has got down to weight; he is looking really sharp, he is ready for it.”
Burkinshaw accepts the ex-Blades midfielder can be distracted by “the red mist coming down” but says they have been working on his concentration in the gym.
“He is not the favourite, but how much he believes in himself in winning this British title is unreal.
“That can get you through in the later rounds when it gets really hard, he has got it in the bank, if he stays mentally strong he’ll get through that.
“Skill wise, he has come on, recently. Some of the shots how he is throwing at different angles, he has come on loads. He is not the most technical figthter, out there like me, but you are never too old to learn.”
Burkinshaw lost his last fight to McDonnell, and admires his rival’s “grit and determination. “Leigh is very smooth and flash but I know Gavin is, first-hand, from being in with him. He has got his sights on this and I believe he will do it,” said the Sheffielder.
“Gavin has got good speed and when he does catch you with that shot, he goes in for the kill. He doesn’t leave himself open, just like (ex-world title holder/brother) Jamie doesn’t. “
Burkinshaw has some qualified praise for Sheffield’s Kid Galahad,(Barry Awad) who faces Spaniard Sergio Prado for the European super- bantamweight title in Sheffield on March 22.
“I am not sure at world level that he will do that great, there are people out there like Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, but definitely at domestic and European level, he can clear up. Barry is very similar to Naseem Hamed’s style of fighting. He would fluster them if he boxed them but I can see them putting him away.”