Defending a dream
Cartwright targets title defence in home city
When Reece Cartwright’s hand was raised in July and the IBF Youth World Middleweight Championship secured tightly around his waist, the 22-year-old Leeds boxer proclaimed ‘nobody is going to take this off me’.
This weekend, he puts that promise to the test as he makes his first title defence against unbeaten Belarusian, Mikalai Kuzmitski, at the New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries.
Boasting an unblemished record of 14 wins from 14 fights (including seven knockouts), Cartwright is quickly establishing himself in the professional ranks.
In what will be his opponent’s first visit to the UK, the Yorkshireman says he is determined to make it an unhappy visit when he steps foot in the ring.
Speaking to the Asian Express ahead of fight night, he said: “I do not feel that I am a proper world champion until I have successfully defended the belt that I have won and I can’t wait to get in the ring on Friday.
“It was amazing to win the title back in July, especially in front of all the loyal home Leeds fans - it really gave me a boost. It was a lifelong dream come true.
“Now I am looking forward to defending my title and winning in style.”
Cartwright says his preparation for the 18th November fight has been ‘on point’ and recently served as chief sparring partner to Kell 'Special K' Brook, prior to his Gennady Golovkin showdown.
The Sheffield boxer praised the prospect o Cartwright's efforts and attitude and personally dubbed him to be the next big thing if he stays the course.
Cartwright added: “My weight and training camp have gone great and I am now ready for action and to do my estate and the city of Leeds proud."
Also in action on Friday night, on the undercard of Cartwright and Kuzmitski, is fellow Leeds heavy hitter, the unbeaten Zahid 'Magic Man' Hussain.
Victory in his warm-up fight will ensure Hussain remains in line for his first challenge for the IBF Youth World Featherweight Championship to be held in Leeds early 2017.
Other boxers in action include Bradford's Femi 'The Fire' Fehintola, Guernsey's Brad Watson and Australia's unbeaten Welterweight prospect, Dan Kennedy.