STEPHEN NEWNS had hoped to be sitting in his Lanarkshire home right now as the freshly-crowned Scottish champion.

But the amateur boxer has been forced to wait for his opportunity to fight for his third Scottish title after the Scottish Elite Championships, which were due to take place in early March, were postponed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Newns is now training as best he can at home, waiting for his opportunity to defend the -69kg title he won last year. And while the delay might be frustrating, it has not dampened his motivation to retain his Scottish title one bit.

“I’ll be going in looking to win – The Scottish Championships are the most important event of the year for me because as much as it’s a really big deal fighting abroad, I still think being the Scottish champion is a huge thing,” said the 22-year-old, who will go in as favourite when the tournament is rescheduled.

“I don’t think about the pressure, I just take it one fight at a time and I know that if I turn up in a positive mindset and focus on what I can do, things will go well.”

Newns has forged an impressive amateur career for himself since coming into the senior ranks in 2017, winning his first Scottish title before missing the 2018 Scottish Championships due to his selection for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

He reached the quarter-finals at the Commonwealth Games two years ago and admits that, as with so many amateurs in the aftermath of a major event, the prospect of joining the professional ranks crossed his mind.

But it didn’t take long for Newns to realise that remaining an amateur for a little longer would be the best thing for his career, with a second appearance at the Commonwealth Games already on his radar.

“The Commonwealth Games in 2018 were fantastic and there was talk afterwards about whether I should go pro,” he said.

“In Gold Coast, it was heartbreaking to not get a medal but I still believe I had a really good competition so I wasn’t too disheartened.

"So when I got home from Australia, I just thought right, I’m going to get myself in the best shape for 2022. I was only 20 years old in Gold Coast so I was still a young boy whereas I feel like in 2022, I’ll be going back as a man. I’m more mature and have so much more experience now so that’s what I’m looking to do. It’s not set in stone because things change all the time in boxing but that’s what’s in my head.

“I personally think going back to the Commonwealth Games and winning a medal would be a huge thing and better than going into the pros too early."

There is one other competition that it would, admits Newns, be a dream come true to fight in; the Olympic Games.

Qualifying for Tokyo, which has now been postponed until next year, is out the question for the Scottish fighter as the British qualification process means that pre-selection to the GB programme is necessary in order to make the Olympic team.

In his first year in the senior ranks, Newns went to the GB base in Sheffield to try-out for the GB squad but was told he hadn’t made it. However, he believes he has the ability to make it into the British squad at some point in the near future, which would re-ignite his Olympic dream.

“It was disappointing getting a knock-back in 2017 but it just made me want to get better and show them what I can do,” he said.

“I believe I’ve got what it takes to be in Team GB – to be a full-time athlete, to be away from home a lot, everything you need to do.

“I love boxing but especially amateur boxing and I'd be so proud to go to the Olympics.”

With Newns on the Scottish team rather than the GB squad, the Tokyo Olympics may be off the cards but he admits he has contemplated remaining in the amateur ranks long enough to box at the 2024 Olympics.

“To go to the Olympics would be a dream but this is just the way it is,” he said of his chances of being in Tokyo .

“It’s just tough that only one fighter from each weight category can go to the Olympics. In my weight category in GB, there’s one of the best boxers in the world, Pat McCormack and he is one of the best in the world but it just seems a shame that Scotland can’t send fighters to the qualifiers.

“If I felt like I had the chance to go to the 2024 Olympics, that would definitely keep me in the amateurs longer. But for now, I’m just focusing on becoming the best fighter I can be.”