LUCAS BALLINGALL has been given the seal of approval by one of boxing’s premier attractions.
And the debut-making Portsmouth featherweight has been backed to shine on his professional bow on Saturday night.
Ballingall moves into the pro ranks on the stacked card at the Mountbatten Centre.
The former Moneyfields amateur takes on durable journeyman Qassim Hussain on his bow.
Ballingall has been getting some excellent preparation under his belt ahead of his big night.
That has included travelling to Wales for sparring with one of the sport’s biggest names.
Selby rates him. When someone like Lee Selby says that you listenMichael Ballingall
The 18-year-old has been sharing the ring with Lee Selby, as he gears up for his world title shot against Evgeny Gradovich at the end of May.
And Selby has delivered a glowing endorsement of his potential.
It’s not just the Welsh star who has been impressed by what he’s seen of Ballingall.
Respected London trainer Alan Smith believes he could make a big name for himself in the sport.
Ballingall’s trainer, and father, Michael, said: ‘Lucas really shone with Lee Selby.
‘Normally he spars the amateurs when he goes to Wales.
‘He’s been there a lot and soaks it in.
‘Selby rates him. When someone like Lee Selby says that you listen.
‘Lee sparred with him and then had a 10-minute chat afterwards.
‘He’s very similar to the way Lee fights.
‘People in the sport have said he reminds them of Selby.
‘Alan Smith has said “that boy is special” and he’s one of the top people in the game.
‘They’ve known him since he was a kid but never seen him fight until now.
‘It’s good and positive that people are really beginning to notice Lucas now.’
Ballingall’s improving power has been backed as he prepares to step between the ropes for his debut.
But he will have a tough task on his hands in getting Hussain out early.
Despite a losing record, the 21-year-old from Sheffield has been stopped just once in 30 fights.
Hussain is likely to come to survive and Ballingall Snr feels that means his son will have to place emphasis on putting his slick boxing skills to good use.
He said: ‘You could hit Qassim with a lump of wood and he wouldn’t go anywhere.
‘So Lucas will go out to box him and show his skills.
‘He’s out to give him a boxing lesson and show what he can do.
‘Lucas is really starting to develop – and his power is really starting to develop.
‘There’s a long way to go yet, though, and he knows that.
‘But we want him to put on a good performance and that might just be able to open some doors for him.’
Tickets are close to selling out for the stacked card at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday.
The show sees the likes of Floyd Moore, Michael McKinson, Danny Couzens, Biola Kudus and Jimmy Cooper in action.
Tickets are priced £37.50. Visit goodwinpromotions.co.uk for details or call 07939 332010.