Beddington boxer Charlie Edwards is preparing to take his bow in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) and wants to soak up as much experience as possible.
As part of the British Lionhearts team, the 19-year-old bantamweight will fight an as yet unknown opponent from Italia Thunder at the Palamaggio sporting arena in Caserta, Italy, on Saturday.
The Lionhearts are currently third out of six teams in group B of the WSB, behind leaders Kazakhstan and second-placed Italy.
Edwards has endured a tough year, missing out on London 2012 and losing at the Tammer tournament in October.
However, the former England schoolboys captain and two-time Golden Gloves champion has a wise head on young shoulders, and life right now is all about learning and developing, to make sure he is at the peak of his powers going into qualification for Rio 2016.
“The WSB is on a bigger scale than what I am used to. It has a big entertainment factor – you come out to music, and it’s all bigged up for coverage on Eurosport,” Edwards said.
“It is a win-win situation for me. I am only 19, I can only gain more experience from these events. It will hopefully develop me for the future and, fingers crossed, 2016.
“London 2012 was too early for me and it happened so fast, but I have four years to develop into a man, get a man’s strength and hopefull y go to Rio.
“You cannot buy the experience of the Olympics qualifying, even though I missed out. I went to two qualifiers and was mixing with the best, rooming with the likes of Anthony Joshua and Tom Stalker, all of the Olympians who did well.
“It showed me what to expect, I was young and I wanted it so much and at the time I was disappointed but looking back it has only made me a better and stronger minded fighter - and next time round it will not be such a big and intense experience.”
He added: “I am a little nervous ahead of the WSB because it is my first bout at 54kg, but I am excited as well because it is five three-minute rounds, which is a step up in rounds.
“At the end of three-round bouts, I am raring to do more so, because of my fitness, it gives me a big confidence boost and I cannot wait to get in there and see what it is like in the fourth and fifth rounds.
“It is uncharted territory, but I am fit enough to go that distance because we do that in sparring, sometimes going to nine rounds.”