The long wait is over – professional boxing is back in Portsmouth.
After a 16-month lay-off since the retirement of Tony Oakey, the paid ranks return tonight in a jam-packed city show at Liquid & Envy nightclub.
And the area’s top talents are determined to do Portsmouth proud as they gear up for their moment in the spotlight.
Mark Coombs, Floyd Moore and Joel McIntrye will lead the local charge as they bid to improve promising careers.
And a host of other talents from across the area, including Bognor favourite Liam Griffiths, will provide support in what is shaping into an entertaining show.
McIntyre has been given one of the most intriguing assignments as he meets former Oakey opponent and Commonwealth title challenger Billy Boyle.
Oakey ended Boyle’s 11-fight unbeaten record on the way to winning Prizefighter two years ago.
McIntyre is looking for a knockout finish against the Sheffield man.
He said: ‘It’s a homecoming show, all of us can’t wait for it.
‘It makes it easier for everyone to come and get behind us.
‘I’m feeling sharp, the weight is good and I couldn’t ask for more.
‘We want to get professional boxing going in the city.
‘There are good boxers here and more coming through as well.
‘I want to go as far as possible. I want to go to the top. Anything is possible.
‘We’re going one step at the time. As long as the dedication is there and you put your mind to it, it can be done.
‘Billy Boyle has a name and will come and fight. That’s perfect for me. I want a knockout.’
Coombs will look to improve his three-fight unbeaten record when he takes on the seasoned Billy Smith.
Journeyman Smith has been in with the likes of world champion Ricky Burns, John Murray, Gavin Rees and Paul McCloskey.
None of those have been able to stop the veteran, showing what kind of test Coombs will be provided with.
Coombs is looking forward to showcasing his talents on home turf – and then busying up his progress.
He said: ‘June 1 was my last bout and this will be my fourth contest.
‘It’s been just over a year I’ve been a pro.
‘I was hoping to have had a few more contests by now.
‘It’s always frustrating waiting, but it will come.
‘It’s good being at home in Pompey and there will be a good crowd here.
‘It will be good to look around and know everyone is supporting me.’
‘I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.’
Moore will be backed by his usual army of supporters as he meets Dan Carr in a rematch, following a close points win in March.
Moore said: ‘It’s been a long training camp but I feel fitter than ever.
‘I’m hoping that will show on the night.
‘It was a tough fight I won by a round last time. I know what he’s going to bring but I’ll be too good for him.
‘It’s great to be in Pompey. I want to get a nice win in front of a lot of home supporters. There will be a lot of noise, that’s for sure.
‘We are building a good team. We want to get the wins, look good doing it and achieve things for Portsmouth.’
Griffiths will bid to chalk up his first win in what could be one of the most entertaining fights of the night against popular journeyman Johnny Greaves.
Griffiths said: ‘I’ll have a lot of supporters with me – I won’t let them down.’