Sky Scholar Jack Bateson begins road to becoming a boxing professional

By Mark Ashenden

Last Updated: 22/05/2017, 15:22 GMT

Jack Bateson
Jack Bateson has big dreams of becoming a world champion in the ring

Jack Bateson revealed last summer that his head was a "mess" and he was hurting at not making the Rio Olympics.

The 22-year-old from Leeds feared becoming the "nearly guy" and not achieving his childhood dreams scared him more than anything. After many chats with his family, friends and Sky Scholarship team, he has made the next step in his career.

Jack reveals why he left the British boxing programme, discusses his support from Sky and his burning desire to be world champion as he starts the road towards being a professional.

My four-year contract with Team GB finished in March and I had to decide on signing for another four years aiming for Tokyo 2020 or to leave.

I'm now looking to start the new chapter in my boxing career as a professional and cannot wait for what lies ahead.

Since the Olympics, I've not been the same person while training at Sheffield. For five years my goal was always the Games which has kept me motivated. Since missing out on Brazil I've had no clear goal other than competing.

I feel something new and exciting will light the fire in me again and will bring out the best performances in competition and in training. I want to be a world champion! That's always been the ultimate dream.

Any decision I make in boxing is because I think it's the right one and seeing my team-mates leave the GB programme has helped shape my thoughts.

It's a new Olympic Cycle now. Most of the time you see boxers stay for a cycle and whether they make the Olympics or not, they move on and look for a new chapter in their career.

I don't think many people realise how hard we train in Sheffield at GB's boxing headquarters three times a day, week in, week out. It isn't easy and the sparring is very intense as we regularly compete.

We need to ensure we are in shape at all times. I believe staying in the squad for too long can make you stale. I've worked very hard for over five years and have given it my all.

I felt I was unlucky not to make the Olympics and I will take all my experience as an amateur through to the professional ranks and I'm confident that my time will come.

Sky has supported me massively as a Scholar. I've come on so much as an athlete and as an individual. Picking up different training methods and using them with the financial support has helped me raise my game and given me the chance to fulfil my potential.

I would love to box on Sky Sports one day and to be able to talk about how the Sky Scholarship scheme has given me the opportunity to get to that position. I'd love to achieve world honours as a pro and say how being a Scholar was a big part of my journey.

I know becoming a world champion won't happen overnight and I'm not in a rush either! Many professionals turn over from the amateurs and fight for major titles within a year.

It's a marathon not a sprint and I know I've got much to learn and when the time is right my team will know. I'm looking forward to working my way up and taking it step by step, fight by fight.

Being a pro means more rounds, bright lights and a bigger atmosphere. But boxing is boxing.

I've fought around the world as an amateur in school sports halls and large arenas in Mexico. If you can see past the big arenas and screaming fans then it's just a boxing ring, yourself and an opponent.

It's the same thing I do every day in training with a sparring partner. I will have a short break over the summer but I hope to have everything in place by the end of summer so that when I'm back in full training I can fully concentrate and have no other worries to distract me.