‘Do Portsmouth proud in front of millions worldwide’: Waterlooville rising star’s vow as he goes global

Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou's clash in Saudi Arabia has provided a dream opportunity for Ville favourite.
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Mark Chamberlain has vowed to seize the moment as sends Portsmouth’s name across the world.

And the unbeaten Waterlooville lightweight is adamant he can rise to the toughest assignment of his career, as he travels to Saudi Arabia to take on Welsh European champion Gavin Gwynne.

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Chamberlain gets the massive opportunity to fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou in Riyadh a week Friday.

The event is being screened on both Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN on these shores and on various platforms across the world.

Chamberlain was stunned when Saudi Royal Court advisor, his excellency Turki Alalshikh, personally presented the 25-year-old with the shock opening at the end of last year.

He said: ‘I was actually out for a Christmas meal and got a call from (promoter and manager) Frank Warren saying he had an opportunity.

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‘I asked what it was and he said he’d let his excellency tell me. So he put the phone on to Turki Alalshikh who said he wanted to invest into my career - do I want to fight? I very quickly said “yes, sign me up - I’ll be there!”.

‘I went on holiday and it was all I could think of - then Frank told me I was fighting Gavin Gwynne if I wanted it. Of course I wanted to!

‘For Frank to show this belief in me is massive, so it’s about going out there and getting the job done - not just in front of thousands but millions watching across the world. It’s crazy.

‘This is a big chance to make a statement. Maxi Hughes is fringe world level now, so I feel that if I get through Gwynne I’m the man at lightweight in Britain.

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‘I’ve got a big task in front of me, but I’m pretty certain I can conquer it.

‘Gavin Gwynne is what he says on the tin - he’s a tough man and there will be moments in the fight where I hit him and he’ll still be in front of me.

‘He’s been British, Commonwealth and is European champion - you don’t hold those titles if you’re an idiot.

‘He’s proven his level and what type of man he is, but I need to get in there and do what I do.

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‘He’s been at a higher level than me, but I’m young, hungry and up and coming. This fight is at the right time for me to push on in my career, I think he’s in for a bit of a shock.’

A switch to new coach Jarred Partridge continues to progress well for Chamberlain, who now has the backing to be able train full time and park his trade as a plasterer.

Now he wants to continue to build the momentum there currently is in Portsmouth’s professional scene.

Chamberlain added: ‘Physically and mentally I’m in the best place possible.

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‘Everything has gone well, the training and the weight is good.

‘I’ve never had so much quality sparring, I feel the fittest I’ve ever been.

‘I’ve done a lot of rounds with Lucas Ballingall, which is obviously going to be good for me given the pressure he puts on you. You’d travel hours for that kind of sparring and I’m getting it on my doorstep.

‘The financial side of it is very difficult so my sponsors are really important.

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‘Deltron Lifts, Staple Garage, Mapro Tuning, Window Warehouse, A2R Tooling and Jackson Groundworks are the people who allow me to focus on training every day and being the best I can be. I’d still be working without them.

‘I feel I’m a good role model. I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs and don’t throw my money around. I’m a pretty sensible boy.

‘I don’t let pressure get to me, I take it all in my stride. I want to keep doing Portsmouth proud and keep on winning.’

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