Luke McCormack is ready for the biggest assignment of his boxing life.
The Washington fighter, who reigned supreme as a junior, is now in amateur boxing’s senior ranks.
And he is in Azerbaijan for the European Games.
If you have never heard of this competition it’s because it is new, with Baku staging the inaugural Olympic-style extravaganza across multi-platforms.
Only the World Championships and Olympics trump this event in the fight game and the 20-year-old, from Washington, is excited to be in it and he’s not just in the old Soviet state just for the ride
“It’s going to be loads different to anything I’ve experienced before,” said the ABA champion. “This is more than just boxing, we’re staying in an athletes ‘village, it’s like an Olympic set-up so it’s very exciting. I suppose I’m in at the deep end a bit, but I’m here to enjoy the experience.
“I’m looking forward to what should be a great event.
“I’ve made all the sacrifices, I’ve not been out and not been eating! I’ve put all the work in and I hope everything pays off.”
McCormack has already struck gold domestically, having won the ABA Championship at U60 kilos in April.
And the Birtley ABC man had to do it the hard way at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, not only having to win three fights in as many days but with a serious cut to his eye.
Success like that strengthens McCormack’s belief he can translate achievements like that onto the European stage even if he knows some of the best amateur talent around will be in Baku.
“It’s my first senior international tournament and it’s a big step up for me,” he told the Echo. “But I feel ready for it and I feel confident that I can do well.
“I’m here to win a medal and I will not be happy if I don’t bring one home.
“Everything is sound, fitness-wise. My cut has started to heal and I hope everything will be all right and it holds up. If it doesn’t I know I got through the ABAs with it, so I can do it again here.”
McCormack was in Germany last week and says the camp has tuned him up against potential opponents.
“Germany was class,” he said. “I had a couple of gym bouts against Sweden and Germany and I definitely felt on top against the German.
“There was a bit of tension, a bit of hitting after the bell, stuff like that, but I enjoyed it, it was a good warm up.”