Ashley Vanzie heads for Ireland today determined to prove that lightning does strike twice.
The big-hitting Bradford light-heavyweight has been invited to a rematch with world No 3 Darren O’Neill – the home favourite he stunned in October.
Vanzie, the younger brother of former British champion Bobby, caused a huge sensation with his victory over O’Neill on the way to winning the Celtic Box Cup.
The split-decision win was the first time the Irish Olympic captain had been beaten on home soil. Now he is spoiling for revenge – and Vanzie is happy to accept the challenge.
The 25-year-old sees the chance of another big win as his route into the Great Britain podium squad.
Vanzie said: “My immediate response when the invite came was to take the fight. The way I see it is that to be the best I have to continually box and beat the best.
“I’m in this game to be successful, not to make up the numbers. Hopefully by doing this, the GB squad will finally give me the call I have been waiting for.”
O’Neill has been in irresistible form since their first meeting, winning two international tournaments in America and Sweden. He knocked out both opponents in the first round, including GB’s Jake Ball.
But Vanzie, who beat him at one day’s notice before, flies in to Waterford confident of proving that was no one-off.
“I have the tools, the skill and certainly the heart to come through a tough fight and raise the levels when required,” he said.
“I will have an extra edge because my coach Martin Bateson will be with me. We have a great relationship and having his experienced eyes in my corner will be a massive help.”