TRAINER Paddy Fitzpatrick believes Swindon boxer Luke Watkins is well on track to make an impact at British level.

After watching his protege crowned as the new Commonwealth cruiserweight champion on Saturday courtesy of a brutal knockout in his bout with Robin Dupre, Fitzpatrick is already looking one step ahead for Watkins.

The 27-year-old now has two titles to his name after claiming the Irish belt back in June when he dispatched the rugged Ian Tims with a solid right-hand in the fourth round in Belfast.

That, along with Saturday’s barrage of punches in the sixth round to finish Dupre, means the former New College student now boasts a perfect record of 12 wins, eight of which have come via knockout.

With an ever-rising stock, Fitzpatrick believes his fighter took another step on his journey at York Hall last weekend.

“He is in the British shake-up. He was fourth before the fight but now he is right where he needs to be, he is right in the British mix,” said Fitzpatrick.

“He is doing every rung in the ladder and this is another rung. Now he has got to go on and prove again.”

Following his win, BoxRec have the Swindon man listed third in the cruiserweight division rankings, behind British champion Matty Askin and fellow unbeaten fighter Stephen Simmonds.

While some may tout Watkins for a British title bout with Askin, who won the belt at the end of May by defeating Craig Kennedy, Fitzpatrick has other ideas.

He believes the 27-year-old could benefit more from making a defence of his new title before looking towards the British belt. “It will be nice to make a defence of the Commonwealth or a unification for the British title, so maybe one defence and then a unification,” he added.

“Like I said, this is all him knowing he can get to this level and now he needs to improve to get to the next level, but he’s a student of the game so he will get there.”

Before taking up boxing on a full-time basis, Watkins was already a keen sportsman and represented Swindon Cougars ice hockey team and England U19s as a teenager, as well as Salisbury City at football before his interest in the squared circle became more concrete as a 21-year-old.

Speaking after the win, the unbeaten cruiserweight told of his gratitude to those who have supported him in his career to date.

“I’ll see what my coach has to say now. I just want to say thank you to all the people who travelled up on Saturday,” said Watkins.

“They’re tremendous. Without those people, the ticket buyers, none of this would be possible, or my sponsors.

“I am a full-time professional and without any of them, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing.

“I am so grateful and very blessed to be doing this.”