John Hedges coming on leaps and bounds under Billy Joe Saunders' trainer Mark Tibbs

Takeley boxer John Hedges

Takeley boxer John Hedges is ready for his second professional fight. - Credit: MARK ROBINSON/MATCHROOM BOXING

John Hedges is out to show the boxing world just how far he has come since a controversial pro debut.

The 18-year-old Takeley man beat Jan Ardon on points in his October bow but that victory, by 39 points to 37, came under fire from a number of quarters.

However, under new trainer Mark Tibbs, he is full of confidence and determined to prove his critics wrong ahead of a four-round light-heavyweight clash with Stanko Jermelic on Saturday.

“It was just one of those things," he said. "I had to get it done and I rushed it a little bit.

"I was only a pro for about two or three months heading into my first fight. Looking back at it, I’m glad I took that risk.

"I boxed a good opponent and I got the win, and now we move forward into a bright 2021."

The six-foot-five-inch fighter made the switch from the Hoddesdon Boxing Academy, where he enjoyed a long and successful stint in the amateurs, to the Origin Gym in Rainham earlier this year where he now trains alongside the likes of WBO super-middleweight Billy Joe Saunders and Southampton light-heavyweight contender Lewie Edmondson. 

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Tibbs won't be in Hedges' corner as he prepares Saunders for his huge unification clash with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in Texas next month but Hedges says the well-respected coach has already had a big influence on him in the short time they have been working together. 

“It was a big move in my career," he said. "I needed a freshen up and I’ve got that. I was advised to make this move and I've listened to that advice. Since I’ve been down here, I feel like I’ve come on loads already

"I’m enjoying my training and I feel blessed to have so many good fighters around me. We’re all on the same mission to make it to the top.

“I can hold my own with whatever weight I’m put in with. I might be young but I don’t care if I’m in the deep end or who I fight. I just listen to my team and my management."

The bout is on the undercard of the Conor Benn v Samuel Vargas fight at the Copper Box Arena.