BOXER Ashley Vanzie says he expects a much tougher challenge this weekend as he looks to claim his second Haringey Cup gold in as many years.
Dewsbury-based Vanzie and KBW Boxing Club stablemate Kevin Pratt will be competing for the prestigious trophy at London’s Alexandra Palace, starting today (Fri).
The 26-year-old, who will fight at 81kg in London, has enjoyed success at the Haringey Cup previously, having clinched the coveted gold medal in last year’s event.
The KBW man defeated Essex’s Dan Aziz in an explosive final to clinch the title.
And this experience could prove valuable according to Yorkshire champion Vanzie.
He said: “There is a good calibre of opposition in the competition, some of whom I’ve boxed before.
“I will come up against a lad I beat in round one of the Yorkshire competition and Dan Aziz, who I beat in the final last year.
“You get confidence from experience but I know I can’t underestimate anyone, especially those I have beaten before.
“They will have trained harder and be more prepared for me this time, I can’t afford to get complacent.
“I plan to catch them early because everyone has a plan until they get hit.”
The Haringey Cup is Vanzie’s first return to the ring since his shock exit in his opening bout at the ABA’s earlier this year and he admits he needed a break after that defeat.
The 26-year-old light-heavyweight star holidayed in Marbella, alongside a light training camp, but he admits it was more about relaxing and getting fit again.
“In reality Marbella wasn’t much of a training camp, it was more about having a break and getting my head right,” he continued.
“It has given my hands time to heal and I feel much better for it, although it limited my preparation time for the Haringey Cup.”
Vanzie has also been in Sheffield sparring with Team GB boxers and he says the training has been invaluable.
He will travel along with Pratt without a coach for the competition and instead find a corner man when he arrives in London.
He added: “Kevin Pratt and myself are going down off our own backs and to not have a coach is not ideal but it is more fuel for the fire.
“It is a great boost to have Kevin with me and I’m looking forward to seeing him fight and hopefully claim a gold himself.”