Sutherland’s a real hit Down Under!

A FORMER Stevenage fighter has boxed his way into Australia s team for the world championships after winning the light flyweight division at the national selection trial. Steve Sutherland, who was a pupil at Monk s Walk School in Welwyn GC, will take on s

A FORMER Stevenage fighter has boxed his way into Australia's team for the world championships after winning the light flyweight division at the national selection trial.

Steve Sutherland, who was a pupil at Monk's Walk School in Welwyn GC, will take on some of the planet's best amateur fighters later this year and the teenage pugilist is also aiming for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China.

The 16-year-old emigrated to Oz from Welwyn village with his family three years ago and is now an Australian citizen.

The precocious puncher fights in a division where the weight limit is 48kgs, which is around seven and a half stone.

Sutherland, a former member of the Stevenage ABC, was England schoolboy champion in 2004 and has more than punched his weight Down Under.

He said: "This is my chance to fulfil my dream and end up becoming a professional boxer, which has been my ambition for the past eight years.

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"Hopefully after all the hard work I've put in, I will start reaping all the rewards now.

"A lot of this is due to the training I had at Stevenage."

Proud dad Gregg feels his son can achieve great things in the sport.

He said: "He's got the chance now to go all the way.

"I've had professional boxers telling me that he's the best 48kgs boxer that Australia has had in a long time.

"Steve has given up his bricklaying apprenticeship to box full-time, so hopefully everything will go well for him.

"He's already got promoters interested in him."

Sutherland, who lives in Victoria, won the national selection trial in Canberra last month with a ferocious performance in the final.

He triumphed by almost 30 points and gave 24-year-old David Pisani, from New South Wales, three standing counts in the showpiece bout.

In the semi-final the teenage talent forced a second round stoppage.

He has now been given a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Sutherland is also representing Australia at the Oceania Championships in Samoa.

After that, he will be preparing for the world championships, which will be held in an undetermined location and on a date yet to be confirmed.

Sutherland first came to boxing prominence as a schoolboy at Monk's Walk.

He made an impact on the 2003 National Schoolboy Championships, reaching the finals in Barnsley.

The following year he landed the national crown by beating defending champion Dean Arnold from the Wednesbury club in Birmingham in the finals at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham.

Now he's aiming for glory with his adopted Australia.

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