Connect with us

Sports

Willy Hutchinson: Scot hopes to take ‘next step to greatness’

Published

on

Hutchinson has long been tipped for great things in the sport. An exceptional amateur, in 2016 he became the first Scot to claim gold at an amateur World Championships, having previously won the European Junior Championships in 2014.

He tore through his first 13 opponents as a professional – stopping nine of them inside the distance – and appeared to be on a fast track to a world title shot. Then came fight number 14.

Hutchinson was expected by many, not least himself, to be too sharp and too good for Lennox Clarke when the pair met at the Copperbox in London in March 2021.

In the first round the commentator on TNT Sports remarked how the favourite was “holding his gloves contemptuously low” as he bamboozled Clarke with some rapid combinations.

The fight changed course when a clash of heads opened a cut above Hutchinson’s eye. In the fifth he found himself pinned on the ropes before a devastating three-punch combination from Clarke handed the Scot a brutal knockout defeat, the first of his career.

“I was only 21 years old and had stuff going on in my life,” Hutchinson recalled.

“At the time I shouldn’t have fought, it was much bigger than what boxing is. I should have just had six months off of boxing, but being young and stupid… it’s life.

“It probably made me more ruthless. It’s the hurt game and until something happens to you it doesn’t really click into you that it’s me or them. It’s got to be them before it’s me.”

After 15 months out the ring to rebuild after the defeat by Clarke, Hutchinson has regained momentum with four straight knockout victories, the most recent a second-round stoppage of German Martin Houben in March.

Next comes a stern examination in the shape of Richards, who has shared the ring with higher-calibre opponents than Hutchinson has faced thus far in his career.

Three years ago he took the great Bivol – who shot to stardom by beating Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – all the way to the scorecards in defeat and did likewise against the highly-rated Josua Buatsi in 2022.

“He’s good,” Hutchinson said of Richards. “He’s a step up for me in my professional career, he’s a good fighter.

“He’s not bad but I believe I’m on a different level to this man and I’m going to show it on 1 June.

“It’s a massive opportunity, a massive step in my career. I’m going to grab it with both hands and push on for bigger and better things.”

Hutchinson played his part in an extraordinary trailer to promote the 5v5 card, the type of short film normally reserved to push Hollywood blockbusters. He was cast as ‘The Chef’, an intimidating cook who takes his violent revenge on a rude customer.

“There’s a new Chef in town,” Hutchinson laughed. “That was fun.

“We went to Bulgaria to do the acting. It was very fun, people doing the make-up and all that, it was very good.

“Mind you I couldn’t do that every day. I only did one day, it took a full day to do that tiny clip and I’m not going to kid you, it was hard work.

“I think I was the best actor, wasn’t I? My bit was the best.”

Hutchinson has long believed he is the best. In Riyadh, he has a huge opportunity to go and prove it.

Continue Reading