Lisa Whiteside is ready to step out of the shadow of double Olympic champion Nicola Adams and stake her own claim for glory in the women’s flyweight class.
Whiteside has seen her chances kept to a minimum by her rival’s domestic dominance but, with Adams on the verge of turning professional, the Preston 31-year-old finally finds herself in pole position.
In Adams’ absence, Whiteside is one of four members of the GB Boxing squad selected for the Women’s European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, which start on Monday.
She underlined her own pedigree by winning a world silver medal in 2014 when Adams was ruled out by injury, and now insists she is ready to install herself as the new number one at 51kg.
Whiteside said: “It’s exciting to be at the start of a new four-year cycle to the Olympics and I’m convinced it is my time now.
“Two years ago I was a world silver medallist so I have already proved that I am up with the best and I am going to concentrate on myself and what I can achieve.”
Whiteside has endured frustration sitting on the sidelines of major tournaments and particularly regretted never getting the chance to test herself against Adams in the ring.
A scheduled showdown at the 2015 National Championships was cancelled following a burglary at Adams’ home, effectively ruling out Whiteside’s last chance of impressing prior to selections for the Rio Olympics.
Whiteside added: “I’m not even concentrating on what is happening with Nicola right now – that is her business and the next four years are up to me.
“It was frustrating to watch the Olympics and see other girls whom I’d beaten winning medals, and of course it was upsetting that I didn’t get the chance to box Nicola.
“But I need to step away from it and be positive.
“There’s a great mood in the camp as we look towards the Commonwealth Games in two years’ time, and it is going to be great to be a part of it.”
Whiteside (below) is joined in the squad by Sandy Ryan, Chantelle Cameron and Natasha Gale, while England have also selected Demie-Jade Resztan, Ramla Ali and Raven Chapman.