Trainer Ince backs Fitzgerald for glory

Scott Fitzgerald and Eddie Hearn
Scott Fitzgerald and Eddie Hearn
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Privileged boxing trainer Karl Ince is dreaming of one day watching fellow Prestonian Scott Fitzgerald fight for a world title at Deepdale.

The renowned fight coach this week revealed his honour after being handed the task of helping turn the 23-year-old into a boxing superstar.

Fitzgerald announced last week that he was leaving the amateur ranks behind and turning professional after signing for Eddie Hearn’s promotion company – Matchroom Boxing.

And the current Commonwealth Games champion will use Ince’s professional training base in Preston as he looks to forge a name for himself in the pro game.

Having learned his trade in his formative years at Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club, in Catforth Road, Fitzgerald will also continue to work with trainer dad and former fighter Dave – who is applying for a pro licence.

But the former Our Lady’s High School pupil will be looking to tap into Ince’s vast experience as an ex-pro fighter and long-time trainer.

Karl Ince

Karl Ince

Dream come true for new pro Scott

Currently boasting some of the North West’s brightest young fighters – including Rick Skelton, Tomi Tatham and Shayne Singleton, in his stable – Ince has also worked alongside some of the best fighters ever produced on these shores.

Legendary former world super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe utilised Ince’s skills as a cornerman during his world title victory over American legend Roy Jones Junior at the iconic venue Madison Square Gardens, in New York.

And the Preston trainer also played a major role in Chorley WBU welterweight champion Michael Jennings’ career, as well as working with people like Enzo Maccarinelli.

Ince, who has known Fitzgerald’s dad Dave for many years, said: “I think it was about three or four years ago, I had my gym in Bolton at the time and said to Dave to bring Scott down for some sparring.

“He came down and I saw something in him straight away. I was like, ‘Wow... this guy has got talent’. I said to Dave, ‘He’s got something special’ and told him to keep bringing him down.

“Obviously Scott decided to stay amateur. He went on to win the ABAs and the Commonwealths and I’ve got great respect for that.

“But I’ve always had a good relationship with him and I’m really honoured that he’s coming to my gym.

“I have trained a lot of champions and I feel that Scott is at that level. To me, he can go all the way to the top – that’s how much I feel about his talent.

“I think he will win a British Title in no time at all. The great thing for me is he’s a Preston lad and I’m a Preston lad.

Preston salutes gold medal star Fitzgerald

“That’s why I am more determined than ever with Scott because he’s a local lad. We would love to see him fight for a world title at Preston North End – that would be the dream.”

By winning the national ABA title at the age of 21 in 2013 and then following that success up in glorious fashion at last year’s Commonwealth Games, Fitzgerald has already shown his pedigree.

And the way he stormed to gold in Glasgow – while nursing a severe cut above his eye and a broken hand – really impressed Ince, who was a constant presence ringside throughout the Games.

“Scott’s got it all. He’s a great boxer technically and can counter-punch,” Ince said.

“But he’s hard and tough as well...and the worst thing about him is he’s such a good-looking so-and-so, which is great for television I suppose.

“Just look at the way he won the Commonwealths. He got the cut above his eye, but there were no complaints – he just got on with it. He won three fights with a bad cut and a broken hand– that just tells me how tough he is.”

Fitzgerald gets his professional career under way on Saturday, November 7, where he will feature against an opponent yet to be confirmed on the undercard of the blockbuster Callum Smith-versus-Rocky Fielding fight at the Liverpool Arena.

In what will be a busy schedule for the ex-Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club fighter, he will then be back in action two weeks later on the same bill as Anthony Crolla’s rematch with Darleys Perez at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, November 21.

“He’s got two massive shows to fight on – he could not have asked for anything better,” Ince said.

“Eddie Hearn’s got massive hopes for him and spoke very highly of him at the press conference last week.

“He’s only heard good things about him from the GB squad – Rob McCracken the head of Team GB knows how talented he is.”

Meanwhile, Skelton suffered the first defeat of his career on Saturday night at Wembley Arena. The Cumbrian star was outpointed by Gary Corcoran.

BIG INTERVIEW: Scott Fitzgerald