A dream come true was how Preston boxer Scott Fitzgerald described his ascension to the professional ranks of the sport.
The Commonwealth Games gold medal winner was yesterday announced at a press conference in Manchester as the latest signing by Matchroom Boxing – the promotions company of reputed promoter Eddie Hearn.
It will mean light-middleweight Fitzgerald will join a stable of fighters, which includes world IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, light-heavyweight star Nathan Cleverly and Bury’s super bantamweight ace Scott Quigg.
Since the day he first walked inside Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club, in Catforth Road, with his trainer dad Dave, Fitzgerald has always aspired to become a professional.
He made a name for himself in the amateur ranks, firstly winning the national ABA title in 2013 before gloriously becoming the Commonwealth champion in Glasgow last year.
A member of Team GB’s Elite squad, it was always Fitzgerald’s intention to remain as an amateur in order to compete for Olympic glory in Rio de Janeiro next year.
But after much consideration, the former Our Lady’s High School pupil believes now is the right time to turn pro.
The offer from Hearn was too good to turn down and now he will get the chance to showcase his talents on some of the biggest stages in the country live on Sky Sports.
“Yesterday was a big day for me,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s been exciting – I enjoyed it.
“It was a bit surreal. I had the press conference and there were loads of photographers taking pictures – there were all these mad flashes everywhere.
“But it’s always been my dream to become a pro boxer.
“When you first get into boxing, you see all these boxers winning world titles and stuff and that’s what you dream of.
“But as you get older, you get wiser and I realised I wanted to go and win a national title, then Commonwealth and Olympic.
“But I am happy to be turning pro now – I’m ready to go.”
Fitzgerald, who suffered a broken hand in winning welterweight gold in Glasgow, admitted it took a huge amount of soul searching to forgo his Olympic ambitions.
“It was always the plan to stay in the amateur ranks and go for the Olympics,” he said.
“But I had my hand injury after the Commonwealths and it was difficult to build momentum.
“I was also struggling to make my weight – it got a bit too much really. I am much more comfortable at light middleweight.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been beaten at light-middleweight.”
He will make his professional debut in Liverpool on November 7 on the undercard of the blockbuster Callum Smith versus Rocky Fielding at the Liverpool Arena.
The 23 year old will then box on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s rematch with Darleys Perez at the Manchester Arena on November 21.