Preston boxing star Lisa Whiteside is hopeful of meeting British rival Nicola Adams in the ring this year.
The 29-year-old was primed to face the London Olympic Games champion at last month’s Elite National ABA Championships in Liverpool.
The scheduled bout had caught the imagination of boxing fans across the country and was being billed as a potential decider for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Both fighters are gunning for the sole seat on the plane to Brazil next year in the 51kg weight category – and World Championship silver medal winner Whiteside saw the match-up has an opportunity to prove her worth.
Unfortunately, Adams – who also won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow last year – pulled out of the competition at the 11th hour after being the victim of a burglary.
The theft took place at a family member’s home and a number of items belonging to the 32-year-old were believed to have been stolen, including souvenirs from her Olympic success.
While obviously concerned for her fellow Team GB athlete’s welfare after being the victim of such a crime, Whiteside admitted it was frustrating that outside events had denied her the opportunity of facing Adams.
Whiteside said: “Hopefully there might be a box-off between me and Nicola later this year.
“We’ve got the World Championships coming up in January, but there’s a chance the fight between me and Nicola will happen before that.
“It was frustrating that I never got the chance to fight her at the National ABAs, but it is what it is.
“I hope she and all the people, who were in the house at the time of the burglary, are okay.
“I have the utmost respect for Nicola.
“I’ve sparred and trained with her. She’s an Olympic champion, Commonwealth Games champion – she’s a great fighter.
“It was just disappointing for me because I felt like I could have beaten her.
“I was desperate to prove myself against her in the 51kg weight category.”
In the absence of Adams in Liverpool, the Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club fighter had no problems in becoming National ABA champion.
She fought Kim Shannon, of 2nd City ABC, in the final and cantered to an unanimous points decision victory.
“Kim did okay, she’s a good girl and a good fighter,” Whiteside said.
“But she kind of made it easy for me because I was able to pick her off with shots.
“After the second round, my trainer Dave Fitzgerald asked me if I wanted to stop her, but I said no.
“I was enjoying the fight. I just moved her around the ring and practiced a few things.
“I did not get out of second gear really, but it was good still to fight and be part of the event. I had a few people in the crowd watching me, so all in all it was good.”
Meanwhile, Chorley’s Jack Catterall is feeling on top of the world after spending time training and sparring with the legendary Floyd Mayweather Junior in Las Vegas.
The WBO Intercontinental light-welterweight champion was one of a handful of fighters chosen to spar with Mayweather in the weeks leading up to his blockbuster fight against Manny Pacquiao. The American undefeated star went on to further enhance his legacy by beating the Filipino on points.
Catterall has a title defence planned for June 20 – against an opponent yet to be confirmed – on part of the same bill which will feature former IBF World Bbntamweight champion Paul Butler at Liverpool Olympia.
And he is looking forward to using the news skills he has learned during the six-week training camp in Vegas, which also saw him work alongside another boxing great – Mexico’s Saul Alvarez
“Sparring against the world’s top fighters was the best experience that I could have had at this stage of my career,” said Catterall.
“It was like a university degree crammed into six weeks, but what I got back is experience that for a young fighter you just can’t buy.
“It’s a massive boost to my confidence that will show in my performance in Liverpool.
“Floyd is the greatest fighter of the modern era and it was an honour to share a ring with him. He’s a wizard in terms of defence and to get near him was very hard, but I learnt plenty from him,”
“I ended up sparring with him twice a week as he was building towards the Pacquiao fight and I had to copy Pacquiao’s southpaw style in the ring.
“He was very accurate and precise and if you made a mistake you’d end up paying, so I had to be sharp at all times. I believe that I got Floyd’s respect and also from his team.
“It was totally different sparring with Alvarez. I ended up spending two weeks with him. He’s a really top guy and very respectful but inside the ring he’s a powerful fighter.”
Tickets for Catterall’s next fight are priced at £40 and £60. They are available from Eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 or The Olympia at www.liverpoololympia.com and 0151 263 6633.