CHASING DREAMS: Brothers make giant leap in the ring
BOXING: They have fought side by side for the past three years, and now boxing brothers Ryan and Zac Cotten are set to make the biggest leap of their careers together.
The brothers, who train under Dean Cribb at the Grafton Amateur Boxing Club, will step between the ropes for their first professional bouts at the Grafton Racecourse tonight.
It has been a move months in the making but was brought forward from a planned December deadline due to Ryan potentially facing the surgeon's knife in coming months.
"After my last knee operation it started playing up again, and the doctor said to me I was going to need another major operation in the near future,” he said. "He wasn't able to give me a time frame, so I thought while I still can get in the ring, why not go for my dreams?
"This doesn't differ that much, it's just another fight. I'm stepping into the same ring, with the same people all around me, just this time there's no headgear.”
The younger of the two Cottens, Ryan has stepped up his workload in preparation for tonight's Clash on the Clarence, where he will meet Greek boxer Nektarious Stathis.
"I am now doing work about two or three times a day and I have really increased my intensity,” he said.
"Obviously I want to be as ready as I possibly can. I don't want to go into this half-arsed, and I definitely don't want to be knocked out in my first pro fight in front of my home town.
"You want to get in there and see how far you can go in the sport. I always want to be playing at the top level.”
For Zac Cotten, the chance to turn professional is a chance to follow his sporting dreams.
Cotten has fought all his 16fights under the tutelage of Cribb, and while his plans to head to the pro realm an amateur champion was doused last month, he is still full of confidence.
The 23-year-old fought to a second-round stoppage loss against Tristan Maston for the NSW Amateur Boxing title at the start of August, but the result has far from derailed his plans to go pro.
"I was keen for my last fight but things didn't go as planned, but that has not stopped me from doing what I want to do,” he said. "At the end of the day I want to take on the world in this sport and nothing will stop me from doing that.”
Zac will give up plenty of in-ring experience to Newcastle pugilist Robbie Harris, but that has not dwindled his confidence ahead of the four-round fight.
"There's a bit of nerves and a bit of excitement. I don't know for sure what is going to happen on the night,” he said.
One thing he does know for sure is that his biggest supporters, parents Des and Annette, will be front row for the fights.
In fact, Annette has been at every one of her sons' fights but is still yet to see them throw a punch.
"Mum comes to every fight and supports us, but once we step between the ropes her head turns to the heavens.”
CLASH ON THE CLARENCE
Gates open at 5.30pm. Amateur undercard kicks off at 6pm. Tickets are $45 with children under 10 free. Tickets available on the door.