It’s been a sharp learning curve for Scott Fitzgerald – but one he is relishing as a rising star of British boxing.Advertisement
The Preston light-middleweight won a welterweight gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 having appeared in front of Princes William, Harry and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton during his way to the final.
His loyal supporters from Ashton, mainly from in and around the Lane Ends pub, begged and borrowed their way up to see his historic triumph.
And Fitzgerald is hoping to repay them by staging a home-town show in March at the Guild Hall – and this time his fans won’t have to stay in cars and on park benches!
He said: “It was a difficult decision to turn pro which meant I missed out on the Olympics in Rio. I got success in the amateurs when they changed the scoring system so my style is more suited to the professional game anyway.”
Fitzgerald, 24, has had five fights at the top level – every one on a big show under Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn – winning them all. But he was made to work all the way in his last bout against the experienced Adam Jones on the undercard of the Tony Bellew bill at the Echo Arena in Liverpool last month.
Read more: Special reception for Commonwealth Games medalists in Preston
Fitzgerald found himself on the canvas for the first time after taking a blow to the side of the head.
He said: “He was, perhaps, too experienced for me at this level. I was planting my feet in an attempt to stop someone who had never been stopped. But it was a lesson learnt. When you get put down you think you are going to crumble then you remember that you are live on TV in front all those viewers.
“You think you are made of iron and can do anything – then that happens. It was a wake-up call. I learnt a lot and went on to win the fight. But I don’t want to learn that way again!”
Fitzgerald fights out of Michael Jennings’ Gym in Chorley while also training at Larches and Savick Gym, which is run by his father Dave.
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Preston-born Jennings is a former British champion who fought four-time world champion Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight title in New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2009.
Jennings and dad Dave were both on hand to help in his last fight. Fitzgerald said: “Having my dad in the corner is great. You know he is always going to try to look after me.
“And Michael has a load of professional experience at this level and I am hungry to learn as much as I can.”
Fitzgerald, under the close supervision of Hearn and manager Steve Wood, is aiming to be a special force in boxing with his classic style.
“I want to make sure I am in the perfect condition when I fight,” he said. “My last bout was a kick up the backside and I know I’ve got to get everything right from now on. I can’t afford to let anything slip.
“It’s great to be on all the big shows and hopefully it could be me headlining them shortly.”