Rising Preston boxer Scott Fitzgerald has turned to the guidance of Chorley’s former welterweight champion Michael Jennings for the next stage of his boxing development.
The reigning Commonwealth Games gold medal winner can boast an unbeaten start to his professional career after turning over at the end of last year.
A former National ABA champion, light-middleweight Fitzgerald has won his first three bouts in the paid ranks – all by way of stoppage.
His latest outing saw him defeat Gabor Balogh on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s world title fight against Ilunga Makabu at Everton FC’s Goodison Park ground at the end of May.
Previously, Fitzgerald – who has been signed by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promotions company – had been working under the tutelage of respected Preston trainer Karl Ince.
However, the 24-year-old has decided to link up with Jennings, who runs a gym alongside his brother Dave in Chorley.
He enjoyed a fine career as a fighter, winning both the British and WBU belts.
In 2009, he famously fought for the vacant WBO world title at Madison Square Gardens, in New York, against Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Despite putting up a brave performance, his dream of winning the world title on the biggest of stages was ended via stoppage in the fifth round.
Jennings’ final bout was a loss against Sheffield superstar Kell Brook and that proved to be only his third defeat in 39 professional fights.
In 2014, he officially announced his retirement from the sport and set up his own gym in Coppull.
Fellow head coach Dave Jennings said he and his brother were thrilled to welcome Fitzgerald, who will also continue to be trained by his dad Dave, on board.
“He’s a great prospect,” Dave Jennings said.
“He’s had a great start to his professional career.
“To get three stoppages in his first three fights – he’s already making a big statement.”
How far Fitzgerald can go in the sport nobody knows, but Jennings believes he has the potential to go all the way to the top. He said: “He’s got potential, he can punch, he’s got the skill.
“It’s hard to say how far he can go, but if you ask me can he be world champion? Why not?”
Fitzgerald’s next fight is scheduled for the end of this month, where he is set to face Darryl Sharp on the undercard of the Leeds Rumble.
The show features home favourite Josh Warrington looking to defend his WBC International featherweight title against Irishman Patrick Hyland on July 30.
Sharp is a southpaw and Fitzgerald has spent this week sparring with Chorley’s WBO Inter-Continental super lightweight title holder and southpaw Jack Catterall.
“Scott is fighting a southpaw and Sharp should be a step up from his previous opponents, but I would still expect Scott to beat him,” said Jennings.
Meanwhile, Isaac Lowe and Tomi Tatham will both be on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s world lightweight unification title fight with Jorge Linares at the Manchester Arena.
Morecambe’s Lowe makes the first defence of his Commonwealth featherweight strap against South African former world title challenger Tshifhiwa Munyai while Karl Ince-trained light-heavyweight Tatham faces Barrow’s Liam Conroy in a fight that could be sanctioned as a British title eliminator.