PRESTON boxing star Scott Fitzgerald aims to set the record straight this weekend at the ABA Elite National Championships in Liverpool.
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medal winner will be looking to regain his national title after suffering a shock loss at last year’s event.
Champion in 2013 after beating Luke Saunders in the final at the Rainton Meadow Arena, welterweight Fitzgerald’s dream of defending his crown was surprisingly ended at the regional stage by Jack Flatley, of Gloves Bolton ABC.
However, after recovering from a number of injuries – including a broken hand he sustained during his glorious success at the Commonwealths – the Larches and Savick ABC star is ready and raring to go.
“I’ve had a few injuries which has stopped me fighting from as much as I would have liked to have done,” Fitzgerald said.
“But I’m getting back to full fitness and I’m looking forward to this weekend.
“I have just got a little bit of work to do to make the weight but I’m looking to put things right from last year.
“I won the National ABAs two years and I have got a bit of experience now on the international stage, so I know what to do.”
As the reigning Commonwealth Games champion and Team GB elite athlete, Fitzgerald goes into this weekend’s event as the No.1 seed.
Expectation levels on him will be high and he is aware that a victory over him will be viewed as a major scalp.
“The lads in my weight will be out to beat me but they will know what I can do and that will be in their heads,” Fitzgerald said.
“I did not have to go into the ABAs this year but I chose to because like I say, I want to put right what happened last year. I don’t think the people at Team GB look into it too much.”
After this weekend, Fitzgerald is looking to take a few weeks off before embarking on the long, difficult process of qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
To win selection, the Preston fighter will have to impress at the World or European Championships.
“It is hard to qualify – it’s not like the Commonwealth Games where you just get picked. It also depends a lot on which continent you are from – Europe is a strong continent.”
Earlier, this month Fitzgerald lost a split decision against world champion Russian Radzhab Butaev in a World Boxing Series fight between the British Lionhearts and the Russian Boxing Team.
All three judges gave the Russian the first two rounds, but Fitzgerald fought back in the final three rounds and was awarded the fifth and final round.
There will be another fighter from Larches and Savick ABC competing in Liverpool this weekend.
Twenty-three-year-old super heavyweight Adam Simpson will be bidding to make it a hat-trick of national titles for the Preston-based club.
The heavyweight qualified after winning the North West Regional Championships earlier this year.
A former Under-10s novice champion, Simpson – trained by Joe Kilshaw – reached the semi-finals of the Under-20s National Championships a few years back.
He will face a quarter-final encounter in Liverpool on Friday where he will hope to progress through to the final on Sunday.
Larches and Savick trainer Dave Fitzgerald said: “He’s done brilliant to get through to the quarters. We’re really proud of him.
“His target is to win it, but we will just be pleased if he can get one win.
“It all depends on who he gets drawn against. But he’s got himself really fit, which he’s never done in the past.
“It’s great for the club to have three fighters at the nationals and it will be even better if we can have three champions.”