HIGHLAND Boxing Academy are ready to pack a punch in this weekend’s Scottish Novice Championships.
They will send eight fighters – five men and three women – to battle it out in the ring in the biggest early stage amateur tournament in the UK.
A total of 511 boxers are to take part in this year’s contest and HBA coach Liam Foy insists his team can return to Inverness with medals.
"I have been going to this tournament since it first started and I am quite experienced as a coach regarding this event," he explained.
"And we have a really good, consistent record of bringing medals back from this tournament.
"Last year we took 13 medals and the year before it was 12, so we have a really high standard of champions.
"So I am not really nervous about going, I would say there is a hunger and a desire to do well.
"I won’t show any nerves because it tends to spread so I should be the coolest person in the room at all times. This is the first major tournament of the season and it is important to get off to a good start.
"It runs over two weekends and we have fighters who will have a busy time and others who won’t be as busy.
"However, they have all worked extremely hard to prepare for this and we are all really looking forward to it.
"We have taken a big haul of medals regularly and the biggest was five gold and two silver, which was the record at the tournament, although it has since been equalled.
"We are staying in a rented house near Motherwell and all the boxers are going to stay there. It is a big, six-bedroom place which sleeps nine.
"That saves about £1000 on the costs from the previous years when we have booked into hotels. It is also good for the boxers for team spirit.
"They all get on well anyway and this will help boost that as they get to know each other better."
Foy added: "We have prepared as well as we can, but as I always tell fighters and parents, there are no guarantees in boxing.
"There have been last-minute injuries in the past to fighters, or their opponents. They have still to go and get weight targets, there are medicals to pass, there are medicals to pass for their opponents.
"So, until you are in the ring and the bell goes, anything can happen and there are no guarantees."
The boxers heading south to Ravenscraig are aged between 11 and 33. They are: Charlie Cargill (33), brothers Lewis (16) and Ruari Urquhart (12), Kamil Wiktor (13), Kion White (11), Ashley Duncan (31), Lindsay Fulton (31) and Emily MacDonald (13).