LEEDS boxer Jack Bateson has a pretty good idea what level is required to be an English super bantamweight champion.
Not so long ago, Michael Ramabeletsa, the English title holder, sparred with Bateson in his gym.
It was great practice for the25-year-old - who is now confident of taking Ramabeletsa’s belt.
Bateson has been making quiet but impressive progress since turning professional, with the Leeds fighter taking his record to 10-0 on the undercard of this month’s IBF featherweight world title fight between Josh Warrington and Kid Galahad.
Bateson too dreams of one day becoming champion of the world, and the Leeds puncher possesses a profile not too dissimilar to Warrington’s.
The Yorkshireman is making a habit of appearing on Warrington’s undercards and would now relish the opportunity to follow the IBF featherweight world champion to America and appear on the same bill of a potential featherweight unification fight, should the Leeds warrior get his wish following last weekend’s defence of his title against Galahad.
The British title holder is someone quite new on the scene who I haven’t really heard of. But whether it’s the end of this year or the start of next year, whenever it is, I feel I would be ready now.Jack Bateson
Bateson also hopes to headline his own show in Leeds - potentially even next year - and fighting for the English title currently held by Ramabeletsa would be an opportunity the Leeds fighter would relish and one in which he would be confident of coming out on top.
“I sparred with the English champ not long back and to be honest it was a pretty dominant spar on my behalf,” Bateson told the YEP.
“He’s called Michael Ramabeletsa.
“He came down to my gym not long back, he’s a lovely kid, he came down and helped me out for one of the fights.
“We both had fights coming up, we did eight rounds and he’s a lovely lad and that.
“But at the end of the day, it’s boxing and it’s just business.
“I felt pretty comfortable in there and then the British title holder is someone quite new on the scene who I haven’t really heard of. But whether it’s the end of this year or the start of next year, whenever it is, I feel I would be ready now.
“Like my dad always says and everyone else says, don’t rush, it’s when the time is right but I’m confident and if they put me in with anyone tomorrow I would be confident of winning.”
Born in Soweto but now based in Preston, Ramabeletsa is 12 years older than Bateson, with the South African-born boxer having claimed the super bantamweight title when defeating Ryan Walker at York Hall in Bethnal Green last November.
That win came two months after Ramabeletsa’s defeat to Ashley Lane for the vacant Commonwealth title.
Bateson will let his team decide when the time is right to try and win his first belt, but the Leeds puncher is ready now.
He reasoned: “When speaking to my team and my dad, they said to me they wanted me to get a couple of the longer distance fights under my belt, the likes of the eight-rounders.
“I was supposed to have one the last time which didn’t go past the one round, but I think once my team know I have got them under my belt they know I am ready.
“But once you are off the leash there is no going back then, you are going to be going and every fight it’s going to get harder.
“It’s likely to be soon, whenever they think I am ready I’ll be in there for them but I think potentially before the end of the year, the start of next year I’d like to have a belt.
“I’d jump in with anyone tomorrow, but it’s just up to my dad and the team to let me know when to go off the leash.
“They know when is the right time and they are the ones that know my true strengths and weaknesses and stuff.
“As long as I trust in them and believe in them it will all be good, but my eyes are on titles very shortly, so fingers crossed.”
Having again been on the undercard in Leeds last weekend, Bateson might yet top one in the years to come - and just like Warrington he too holds the same American dreams.
“100 per cent,” said Bateson, assessing the prospect of
fighting underneath Warrington the other side of the Atlantic.
“If I had the opportunity and kept on winning and Josh was fighting over there, all being well, then I’d love to fight on the undercard.
“Taking our city to Vegas or wherever it is in America. Imagine the crowd.
“It would be like Ricky Hatton all over again, taking Manchester and everyone else up there.
“But my dream is to headline in Leeds and hopefully one day headlining the likes of America, but it’s one step at a time and I know I’m far from there yet.
“I’m working hard, so fingers crossed.”