JOSH PRITCHARD prepared to make his pro debut on the big stage and admitted: It’s a dream come true.
And the Purbrook puncher has vowed to make the area proud as he moves into the paid ranks.
Pritchard makes his bow on the undercard to Carl Frampton’s world title defence against Chris Avalos in Belfast tonight.
The decorated England international has been given a huge opportunity after being signed to the McGuigan stable.
He will be given his first chance to impress at super-featherweight, as the 20-year-old meets Hungarian Aron Szilagy.
The former Moneyfields man admitted he has been taken aback at the speed in which the move into the pro game has taken place.
But now he’s ready to represent his family and home city as he aims to make his mark in the sport.
Pritchard highlighted the efforts of his parents, Aaron and Maria, in giving him a huge opportunity.
Pritchard said: ‘It’s been absolutely fantastic.
‘It’s all a bit new to me, but it’s been the experience of a lifetime.
‘You can’t buy experience like this, and the whole team has been great in how they’ve showed me the ropes.
‘Now, the hard work is done after the camp we’ve had.
‘It’s time to look forward to the contest and showing what I can do.
‘I’m lucky to have such a great team around me in Shane and Barry McGuigan.
‘I’m living with the fighters during the week and living the lifestyle.
‘Everyone is switched on to what is needed and I have all the backing I need to be a success.
‘I’m going to be very busy this year and plan to be out there boxing a lot.
‘My parents have supported me all the way through since I’ve boxed.
‘They have put in so much hard work with me and given me backing. We’ve done it as a team.
‘I want to go to the top – and I want to do Portsmouth proud.
‘We’ve had Tony Oakey and there’s been Floyd Moore recently with the other local fighters.
‘I want to get Portsmouth on the map in boxing again.’
Meanwhile, the next Portsmouth pro fight is set to be a sell-out with a stacked card at the Mountbatten Centre.
And Portsmouth brothers Lucas Ballingall and Michael McKinson are set to provide one of the most intriguing tales of the night as they both appear on the same bill on March 28.
Ballingall makes his featherweight bow while welterweight McKinson, formerly Ballingall, makes his first appearance on these shores.
McKinson has picked up a four-fight unbeaten professional record since joining the paid ranks.
That has taken place since moving to Northern Ireland, with the 20-year-old winning every round against a succession of imports.
Promoter, Josh Goodwin, promised his outfit have a commitment to the sport in the city.
He said: ‘We’re here in Portsmouth for the long-term and you won’t find a promotional outfit that treats the boxers better than we do.
‘There’s a big buzz about the scene here and we’re hoping to put on a big open-air show in the future.’