Rising fight star Scott Fitzgerald is itching to get his professional boxing career under way.
After a number of false dawns over the past few months, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner will finally enter the realms of the paid ranks on Saturday when he faces Swindon fighter Ben Heap.
The 24-year-old light-middleweight is on the undercard of the blockbuster Scott Quigg-Carl Frampton super-bantamweight world title showdown at Manchester Arena.
Primed to appear on three huge shows at the back end of last year after being signed by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promotion company in September, Fitzgerald had to put his debut on hold after fracturing his thumb in training.
It meant he missed out on the opportunity of appearing on bills at both the Manchester and Liverpool Arenas in November.
Fitzgerald was also hoping to recover in time to feature on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s British title fight victory over Dillian Whyte in December.
Now back to full fitness, the former Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club star will finally throw his first punch as a pro this weekend.
It is set to be a huge evening for the former Our Lady’s High School pupil as the show is a complete sell-out, with around 21,000 fans set to be in attendance to witness Quigg and Frampton’s unification bout.
“Finally it’s here,” said Fitzgerald. “I’m feeling really good and can’t wait for it now.
“It was really frustrating to miss out on the three shows last year.
“I did not really want to watch those shows – I was on a bit of a downer. But this weekend has come around fast enough. I just can’t wait to get in the ring.”
After enjoying a stellar amateur career which saw him win the National ABA title in 2013 and culminated in Commonwealth gold in Glasgow, Fitzgerald will be the big favourite on Saturday.
His opponent Heap is a former English kick-boxing champion, but lost his only pro bout on points against Latvia’s Viktors Drizlionoks in December.
However, Fitzgerald is refusing to take anything for granted and will be giving Heap the utmost of respect.
“He’s a three-time English kick-boxing champion and has had a load of unlicensed fights,” said Fitzgerald, who is trained by Preston-based cornerman Karl Ince.
“He’s had one as a pro and lost it, so I should be able to do a job on him.
“But he’s still got two arms and two legs, so I have got to make sure I go out and do the job I’m supposed to do and get him out of the way.
“I am the favourite so there is pressure on my shoulders.
“But once I get in the ring, the nerves and everything are forgotten about. It’s just about doing the job and I’ll be ready to do it.”
Meanwhile, Larches and Savick ABC have enjoyed success recently. Jack Phoenix and Stanley Haughton are North West ABA champions and reached the semi-final of the national competition.
Youngsters Bria Fielding and Billie-Jean Franks fought through to the semi-finals and final of their respective national ABA event.