Chorley’s former British welterweight boxing champion Michael Jennings believes Preston’s iconic Guild Hall can become Scott Fitzgerald’s home venue during his career.
The 25-year-old light-middleweight star, who won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2014, fights in his home city for the first time as a professional on Saturday.
With victories from his opening five bouts, Fitzgerald, pictured, will be looking to maintain his 100% record in front of a crowd which is sure to be packed full of his own fans.
Preston-born Jennings – who trains Fitzgerald at his gym in Coppull – knows exactly what it is like to fight at the Guild Hall.
Four of his 39 bouts were staged there, including the successful defence of his Lonsdale belt against Bradley Pryce in 2005.
Despite fighting on some of the world’s biggest stages such as New York’s Madison Square Gardens and the Manchester Arena, Jennings insisted the Guild Hall was one of his favourite venues.
And he believes Fitzgerald – who is yet to learn the identity of his opponent although he is believed to be from Russia – will revel in the close-knit atmosphere when he gets in the ring this weekend.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Jennings, who will be in Fitzgerald’s corner alongside the boxer’s dad Dave.
“Boxing is back at the Guild Hall and it’s the homecoming for Scott. He has not boxed there before and hopefully it can become a home venue for him. I liked the Guild Hall – it always felt like a home venue to me when I fought. I topped the bill there when I defended my British title.
“It’s a fantastic set up. Everybody has a good view and it’s a great atmosphere.
“I boxed at the Manchester Arena and it would be full of Ricky Hatton supporters. But when I fought at the Guild, it was packed with my lot and I expect it be the same for Scott this weekend. Scott won the Commonwealth Games gold medal, which is a big thing.
“He’s done a lot for the city of Preston and he’s the type of boxer who will get a lot of support.”
It will be a busy night for Jennings as he will also be in the corner of Preston’s Ben Swarbrick, who will contest his second pro fight.
“Ben’s in great condition,” said Jennings. “He’s the kind of lad you have to kick out of the gym – he never stops.”
The weigh-in takes place on Friday afternoon at the Guild Hall at 2pm. Fans are welcome to go along.
There are still some seats available for fight night and fans are reminded they can pay on the door. Doors open at 6-45pm, with the first fight scheduled for 7-15pm