'Time was right to turn professional' - Preston boxer Lisa Whiteside is keen to make her mark in the paid ranks
The 33-year-old flyweight turned her back on the opportunity of competing at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo, when she quit Team GB at the back end of last year.
She then announced her decision to turn over last month when she was granted her pro licence.
After winning Commonwealth Games gold, on Australia’s Gold Coast last year, Whiteside felt it was the perfect time to turn her back on the amateurs and join the paid ranks.
The Chorley-born fighter also wants to take advantage of the growing popularity of women’s professional boxing.
“It was one of those where I wanted to finish on a high,” said Whiteside, who is poised to confirm the identity of opponent and venue for her pro debut imminently.
“The experience of what happened at the Commonwealth Games – I just feel like I couldn’t have topped it in the amateur game and I was happy to finish on a high.
“With how well the pro game is going for female boxers at the moment, I didn’t want to miss out on the right opportunity to turn pro.
“It had reached that moment when it was time to make a decision.
“So it just felt right to finish in the amateurs as Commonwealth Games champion and have a crack at the pro game.
“It was all about timing really. I never grew up thinking that I was always destined to go to the Olympics.
“I started boxing 12 years ago just for enjoyment and fitness.
“To then achieve what I have achieved, I can never really have any regrets. I am over the moon by what I have achieved.
“I am 33 now – I’m not getting any younger – so it’s the right time.”
Another big consideration for Whiteside – who has signed terms with S-Jam Boxing Promotions – was the fact that turning professional means she will get to spend a lot more time at home with her family.
Previously she has spent the last six years based at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
“I have got to think what is best for me and the best thing for me is being at home with my family permanently,” said Whiteside, “Being trained by my main coach Mick and having a good go at cracking the pro game.
“I think it’s going to be nice to have Mick with me on the journey all the time.
“With GB – don’t get me wrong it was fantastic, the coaches there were awesome – but I was away from home Monday to Thursday, then I would train Friday and Sunday with Mick.
“But then I would be going off to the tournaments and Mick wouldn’t be there.
“Now we can enjoy this part of the journey together.”