Lisa Whiteside is determined to seize her overdue chance to shine in the Gold Coast sun next month after finally stepping out of the shadow of double Olympic champion Nicola Adams.
Preston boxer Whiteside may sigh at the mere mention of her former flyweight rival.
But it is a fact that the 32-year-old’s aspirations were for so long dependent on Adams’ own boxing destiny.
Whiteside had to grab her rare opportunities to underline her status as a true global contender, most notably in the 2014 World Championships in Jeju City, where she stepped in at 51kg after Adams withdrew with a shoulder injury and won the silver medal.
But a serious head injury suffered in a freak accident away from the sport in 2015 left her unable to capitalise on Adams’ decision to leave the GB programme to turn professional.
And it left many questioning whether the former Larches and Savick ABC fighter’s time would come.
Whiteside said: “After going through not getting selected for certain tournaments and then my head injury, it’s great to be back and going to such a big event.
“Back then there were probably people who didn’t think I would box again.
“I struggled with my balance and all sorts, but I’m so self-driven and ambitious that retirement was never an option.
“I know I’m capable of going out there and getting that gold medal.
“I didn’t want to be sat at home thinking, ‘Why am I not going to the Commonwealth Games?’ I didn’t want to have that regret.”
Whiteside, a serving police officer, also has the European Championships to follow shortly after Gold Coast, and has not ruled out one day pursuing the likes of Adams in the professional ranks.
But for now she is entirely focused on a women’s 51kg competition which will also include Glasgow 2014 bronze medallists Pinki Rani of India and Canada’s Mandy Bujold.
“I’ve got options in the future, but I’m just taking it step by step at the moment and that next step is the Commonwealth Games,” added Whiteside.
“I don’t think too much about my opponents.
“I know at the end of the day that if I perform to my best then I am capable of coming back with the gold medal.”