A Chester boxer has been tipped for big things in the professional ranks after a standout amateur career.
Wycombe King, from Saltney, embarks on his final season in the amateur game in September before embarking on a professional career that some believe could take him to the top.
The Chester-born 25-year-old, who started his boxing journey at Deva ABC in Saltney before joining the acclaimed Collyhurst Club in Manchester under the watchful eye of his now trainer and manager, former British and European welterweight champion Pat Barrett.
While Paul Butler has long carried the flag for Chester-born fighters in the professional game, King is now aiming to make his mark and represent the city in the ring.
But it could have been a different story had he not been coaxed to leave the weights behind and don the gloves.
“I’ve always loved boxing but as an early teenager I never boxed, although I did get into a lot of fights and stuff,” said King.
“When I started at Deva it used to be on an industrial estate and I used to train at the weights gym a little bit further down and used to walk past the boxing gym to get to the weights gym.
“They all used to say to me that I should go there and leave the weights. After a little while I did.
“When I went in there I was very, very raw. I’ve always had great athletic ability but I was big from the weights and if you would have seen me then you would have thought that he isn’t going to stick at this type of thing.
“But something told me and I just had this feeling that I wanted to carry it on and I did.”
It didn’t take too long for King, a former pupil at St David’s High School in Saltney, to shine at Deva, winning the Welsh Novice Championships in 2015.
But in order to further himself a chance meeting with Barrett helped chart the course to a professional career that is set to begin in 2019.
Recalled King: “I was with one of my boys in Cheetham Hill and he was getting and haircut and Pat Barrett was in the barbershop. It’s strange how things come about.
“I knew of him because my old trainer had sparred with him and he had a reputation through his boxing.
“When I saw him in there I got talking and he said if I ever wanted to train I could come down. A couple of months later I rang him and that’s when I started to take it seriously and train at Collyhurst.”
King has another 12 months in the amateur game but is more than confident that he will be able to make a smooth transition, something that isn’t always the simplest of tasks for some who make the leap.
“Life experience, the things in my life that I have been through, that has definitely helped my mindset and enabled me to channel my aggression through my boxing,” said King, who currently works as a barber in Connah’s Quay.
“This is my last season as an amateur. It starts in September and ends in June. I could stay amateur longer if I wanted to be. But I feel I’m ready to take the next step. The transition is going to be effortless.
“I’m in the best place as Pat, as well as being my trainer he is going to be my manager as a pro. It is all taken care off and all looked after.
“You take it step by step and I aim for the things that I can see right now.
“Tommy [Dix] talks of British titles, European titles and World titles if that is what it is.
“My aspirations are that I just want to be the best that I can be.”
And one person who has the belief in King and his ability is 78-year-old Tommy Dix, a stalwart of the regional boxing scene for decades.
Dix has seen a host of household names at close quarters in the ring and knows more than most what it takes to make it in the game. He has no qualms that King will make a success of it.
Dix said: “I’m 79 years of age coming, I’ve got over cancer and different things, but the likes of this lad gives me the incentive to keep on going because he deserves it.
“There is a big difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing and some of them stay in the amateur game too long. Bad habits are hard to get rid of.
“I can see the improvement in Wycombe when he is training. I think this boy has got what it takes and he has the right people around him.
“I’ve seen a lot of lads and I know this one has got a big future.”