Sunderland scrapper Isaac “Can Bang” Macleod is determined to make the most of his chance at next week’s Ultimate Boxxer event in Manchester Arena.
The undefeated Wearsider, fighting out of Matchroom Boxing’s London gym, has more than just glory driving him on - he wants to keep the memory of his late brother Luke alive.
Friday’s April 27 date is significant to Macleod as it’s Luke’s birthday, and he believes it is his destiny to be crowned the Ultimate Boxxer.
Macleod admits he nearly hung up his gloves following Luke’s death in 2009 at just 19, but continuing his career and becoming a champion will be a fitting tribute.
“Luke stayed over at his friend’s house and he never woke up,” said Macleod.
“I was devastated. We were best mates as well as brothers. I was depressed and had to take a break from boxing. I’ve never been able to forget what I saw.
“I decided in the end that rather than quit boxing, I should carry on and fight for Luke’s memory.
“I’m sure it’s my destiny to win Ultimate Boxxer. I just think it was meant to be.”
Ultimate Boxxer sees eight undefeated welterweight fighters go toe-to-toe in an exciting elimination tournament to win a cash prize from a pool of £50,000.
The event is backed by ambassadors Ricky Hatton, Anthony Crolla and Paulie Malignaggi.
Macleod believes that he will be the last man standing from the eight entrants and is likely to be the bookmakers’ favourite.
The 23-year-old has an outstanding amateur pedigree, having won European Youth gold medal and World Youth silver.
Unbeaten in all nine fights since turning professional, he added: “I’m a good, seasoned all-round fighter and I know how to win fights.
“The others will think: ‘It’s three rounds, I have to go for broke’ and I’m just going to keep my cool and capitalise on their mistakes.
“I’m not worried about my rivals in Ultimate Boxxer, I’ll let them worry about me.”
Macleod, trained by Darnell Smith in Essex, is the mandatory challenger for the English welterweight title.
“There’s not an awful lot of pro boxing in the North East,” he said, “and I haven’t really been able to show people what I can do yet.
“Ultimate Boxxer is a fantastic concept and will raise my profile and then I’m looking to push on.
“The target is the world title and I think that’s the difference between me and the other lads in Ultimate Boxxer. I’m aiming for the top.”