Undefeated Shakan Pitters was lined up to face two opponents before lockdown as the Ultimate Boxxer winner aimed to continue his impressive progress.
As we all know, things have changed with all the uncertainty in the world.
WBN caught up with Pitters to gauge his thoughts on the current coronavirus situation and ask whether he expects to face his original opponent Craig Richards or his replacement Chad Sugden.
Firstly, the Birmingham man was asked how he coped with the quarantine.
“Probably the same as all other boxers, just ticking over and keeping fit by training at home and solitary runs. It’s all we can do at the moment until things improve. Things could be a lot worse, and there are many more people worse off than me, so I’m blessed and grateful to be safe and healthy with my family and commend the brilliant job the NHS is doing. The real heroes,” Pitters exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I’m a positive person and don’t let negative thoughts hold me back, so I’m not focused on a date or even a month when I could fight again.
“Once the current situation improves, and restrictions begin to get lifted, then I’m sure Mick Hennessy will be in touch to give a new date for me and Sugden to fight for the British title.
“I am hungry to fight for the Lonsdale belt now. It’s one that I’ve craved and wanted. So this extra delay is just making me hungrier and hungrier and even more determined to win it.
“I’m so excited it’s live on Channel 5. That’s huge exposure on terrestrial TV; everyone will get to see it for free.
“This will be the first fight on free-to-air TV after the lockdown and restrictions are lifted. When boxing shows are allowed to start again, the interest and appetite of boxing fans will be huge.
“I just can’t wait.”
On the Shakan Pitters vs Richards/Sugden conundrum, the 30-year-old added: “As far as I know, it’s still the British title fight against Chad Sugden as it was before the lockdown.
“Craig Richards was my original opponent, but he bailed out with a cold, and Chad stepped in. If it ends up being Richards again, then that’s fine. But it’s a bit harsh on Chad.
“Either way, I don’t care who I fight. I’d beat them both on the same night. I want to fight!
“All this talk is getting me hyped up. I want that British title, then it’s the path to the top, and I want that beautiful green and gold WBC World title belt.
“If it can be done, I’d one hundred percent love two fights this year, maybe even three! But it’s got to be championship fights from now. I’m at that level now, and I’m only going to keep getting better and improving.
“I want to prove that I’m the best of British. If possible, win the Lonsdale belt outright and then make a major push on the World scene.”
On an impressive 2019 and building on his UB triumph in late 2018, Pitters pointed out: “I had three good wins last year and won the English title with a win over Dec Spelman and was ready for a big 2020, but then the coronavirus struck, and it has changed the world.
“We can all go out and make plans, but it shows how things can get completely turned around. I would have liked to have more fights in 2019, but this year was going to be a real breakthrough year with my fight on Channel 5.
“I was going to make a real impact. Things will still happen, though. We have to remain positive and focused.
“My journey isn’t going to change, and I’m not going to rush anywhere if I’m not ready for it. I said I’d like to win the Lonsdale belt outright, which would mean competing at the domestic level for a while longer.
“If my team and I feel ready and a great opportunity comes up, we’ll look at it.
“I look at the World 175lb division, and it excites me. There are some great names: Kovalev, Beterbiev, Bivol, and class fighters.
“I want to be in a position one day to fight these names and beat them,” he concluded.