Professional boxer Jake Sharp said he was now in the right place mentally to start winning fights again after his first date was announced for 2018.
The 23-year-old, of Newark, is moving down a weight category, to super-middleweight, as a signal of intent to be in the best possible shape ahead of his next bout at Barnsley Metrodome on March 16.
His first three fights as a professional were at light-heavyweight, and Sharp said he had problems getting down to the target weight
“My condition has never been great leading up to a fight. I have had some troubles in the past but my head is right there now,” he said.
“Now I am getting my head down again and the results are starting to show.
“I trained all through Christmas and I am ready for what the new year has to offer.
“I had to weight drain before my last fight, which isn’t good, and I want to make sure I avoid a situation where that happens again.”
After knockout victories in his opening two fights as a professional, he was held to a draw in his most recent bout against Kamil Al Temimi.
“I learned more in those 12 minutes about boxing than I had done in the whole year combined,” Sharp said.
“You cannot get away with a lot if you do not put 100% into every fight. It is a lot different to my days as a white collar boxer.
“Back then you were mainly fighting in front of your mates, but the spotlight is definitely more on me now.
“Turning professional has been a big learning curve for me, and I feel as though I am getting things back on track.”
'The biggest year of my life as a boxer'
He is signed by promoter Carl Greaves, and said the coming year would be focused on consolidating himself as a professional fighter and working his way up the British rankings.
“I have made a decent start and now I want to get a couple more wins under my belt and establish myself more in the sport,” Sharp said.
“If I can get three or four more wins I can start to assert myself more in the super-middleweight category and prepare for an even bigger 2019.
“I am here to win and I want to win. This is the biggest year of my life as a boxer and I hope to make every session and every fight count.”
Sharp is being trained by former Commonwealth and European champion Esham Pickering as he looks to get into the best possible shape.
He will also travel to Ireland in the weeks leading up to the fight to train at former-professional cruiserweight boxer Glenn McCrory’s Wild Atlantic Gym.
Tickets for the show at Barnsley can be found at iboxingtickets.com