Goodison Park bout awaits Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald
Scott Fitzgerald
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Preston boxer Scott Fitzgerald could get a glimpse into the future on Sunday night.

The 24-year-old rising light-middleweight fights Hungarian Gabor Balogh on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s WBC world cruiserweight title bout against South Africa’s Illunga Makabu.

The blockbuster show is being staged at Goodison Park – the home of Liverpudlian Bellew’s beloved favourite football team Everton.

A 40,000-strong expectant crowd is expected to provide raucous support for the home favourite as he bids to become a world champion for the very first time.

Bellew has always dreamed of fighting for a world title in his own backyard – and Fitzgerald admits he harbours similar ambitions.

The current Commonwealth Games champion would one day love to fight for a big title in front of a home crowd – at Preston North End’s Deepdale Stadium.

“My ambition is to fight at North End,” said Fitzgerald, who is coached by respected Preston trainer and former welterweight ace Karl Ince.

“It would be great to win a world title or defend a world title there.

“Seeing what Tony Bellew’s going to have on Sunday – fighting at Goodison – it would be great if I could do that in Preston.

“Bellew is 33 – I’m eight or nine years younger so there’s plenty of time for me to do that.

While that is a long-term goal for the former Our Lady’s High School pupil, Fitzgerald knows he cannot afford to take his eye off the ball this weekend.

Having won his previous two professional bouts by way of stoppage earlier this year, the ex-Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club ace is the overwhelming favourite to win the four-round contest.

His 29-year-old opponent has lost both of his two professional fights and only turned over to the paid ranks last year.

In his first fight he lost on points to Adrian Martin at Bethnal Green and it was a similar story in his next bout against Max Lovell in March at the same venue.

However, Fitzgerald will not be underestimating his opponents especially as he will be fighting outdoors for the very first time.

“I am really looking forward to it – I can’t wait,” said Fitzgerald, who is a former National ABA champion.

“My previous two fights have been indoors at the Manchester Arena and Liverpool Arena, so this is going to be different with it being an outdoor show at a football stadium.

“That’s obviously something I have never done before, but it should be a great atmosphere.

“I don’t know if there will be much difference between fighting indoors and outdoors, but it’s something to tick off as I build my record up.

“I suppose it all depends on what the weather is like.

“It is meant to be sunny so that will be nice, but it would be a good experience to fight in the rain so we’ll see.

“I don’t know too much about Balogh – I’ve not seen too much footage of him. I’ll be looking to knock him out.”

His trainer Ince said: “This opponent is ideal for Scott. He can relax and enjoy it. I am hoping he will go all four rounds because one day he will need that experience.”