WILLY HUTCHINSON is in no doubt as to where he is headed in his sport. The 22-year-old boxer is convinced he will not only become world champion, but will also become a superstar in the process.

Hyperbolic chat from boxers is nothing new. Week-in, week-out, you hear boxers claim they are going to knock someone out. And Hutchinson is no different when it comes to making grandiose predictions about his career.

“I’m telling you now, I’m going to be Scotland’s next superstar,” the Carstairs fighter said. “In fact, I’m going to be Britain’s next superstar – in the next couple of years, I’ll be the biggest name in Britain. I see myself fighting for a world title in two years.”

Hutchinson may boast about his potential, but he is different from many in that he has a considerable pedigree on which to base his claims.

As an amateur, Hutchinson made history in 2016 by becoming Scotland’s first world amateur champion, something even world champion Josh Taylor did not manage.

Now in the pro ranks, Hutchinson is establishing himself as a fighter to be reckoned with. He is unbeaten in 13 pro fights and has his sights set on winning his first belts when he takes on Lerrone Richards for the British and Commonwealth titles in the coming months.

For Hutchinson, it is about time he got his hands on a belt and despite the fact Richards is a well-established fighter with just one defeat, the Scot is not at all daunted about the task in front of him. In fact, he merely sees these belts as a platform on which he will go on to bigger and better things.

“I think this will probably be my toughest fight as a professional. But having said that, I believe that I will completely annihilate him. I’m super confident that I’ll win. I’m better in every area – I’m young, handsome and so I don’t have any doubt that I’ll win.

“It would mean a lot to me to win these belts but really, I just see this as a stepping stone. It’s only when I’m world champion that I’ll be happy. This fight is just the next baby step towards the main prize.”

Lockdown may have been a significant blip in their routine for some athletes, but Hutchinson barely missed a step over the summer. Having won his first fight of 2020 on points, he has emerged from lockdown firing on all cylinders, beating Englishman Ben Thomas in round one before producing an inspired display for a first-round knockout of Spaniard Jose Miguel Fandino, who has fought for a world title. This most recent performance has left Hutchinson brimming with confidence.

“I’ve come out of lockdown all guns blazing,” he said. “I was running and training every day but it was really hard with everything we were all going through. I just tried to keep on top of it though and as soon as we were allowed to go back to the gym, I was there,” he said.

“My last fight was my best pro performance to date – I just felt like I was quicker, stronger and I felt great.

“The mental side is such a huge part of this sport and my head is in a great place just now. When you have the belief in yourself that I do, then there’s no doubts at all.”

Hutchinson may still be in the early stages of his career but he is surrounded by a wealth of experience in his team.

He is managed by the legendary Shelly Finkel, whose charges have included the likes of Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao and Evander Holyfield; his promoter is the long-established Frank Warren and he is coached by Dominic Ingle, previously long-time trainer of former world champion Kell Brook.

With Hutchinson dropping down a weight class to super middleweight, he admits having the watchful gaze of Ingle over him in recent months has been exactly what he needed. And such a lauded trainer putting quite so much time and effort into him has only strengthened Hutchinson’s belief he has what it takes to make it to the top.

“Boxing is hard enough even before you put the weight thing into it, he said.

“Especially during lockdown, it was very tough watching what I was eating but I just knew I had to do it.

“My coach was keeping an eye on me. I need that because if there’s no one keeping an eye on me, I’ll go off the rails. He makes me go round to his house every tea-time and watches every single thing I eat. Every mouthful. I’m happy with him doing that though because I know it’s what I need. If I didn’t have that, I’d go and eat pizzas and other junk.

“He believes in me, my whole team believe in me and that’s why they’re all doing what they do for me.”

Hutchinson’s clash with Richards has been ordered to take place by March next year but for the Scot, the sooner the better. Whenever he takes to the ring though, he is confident he will leave with his first major professional title.

“We’ll have to wait and see when this fight will be. I’d like it to be before Christmas but with all this Covid stuff, we’ll have to just see,” he said. “Whenever it is though, I’ll be ready.”