The pressure is on for Sam Larkin as the featherweight fighter prepares to make his professional bow at the fourth attempt.
A cataclysmic transition in to the paid ranks had threatened to end the 28-year-old’s career before it had even started but the time has finally come.
The former Sandygate ABC star, who had been pencilled in to face teenage Yorkshireman Kieran Holman at Colne Municipal Hall on a couple of occasions last year, will feature on Kieran Farrell’s promotion ‘Risk vs Reward’.
Larkin will do battle with journeyman Ricky Leach at the Bolton Whites Hotel tomorrow on the undercard of the Central Area Super Welterweight title fight between Evaldas Korsakas and Danny Craven.
“I’m fired up for my debut but the pressure is on now,” said Larkin. “I had a bit of a meltdown midweek. It’s just hit me all of a sudden because it’s a big occasion. I can’t wait to fight, I just want to get in there so I can forget everything.
“My opponent is a tough lad who will come to win. It’s a hard fight for me straight away, which is what I want.
“He’s a journeyman so he’s obviously got a few losses on his record but I’ve watched him online and he’s gone close a lot of times.
“He looks decent. He’s taller than me and has a longer reach than me so it will be tough. We’ve been working on a gameplan to account for that and I’ve been hammering training.
“He doesn’t like pressure and backs off a lot. I’ll try and cut off the ring. He likes to tuck up nice and tight, with elbows coming right round. I’ve been hitting hard to the body in sparring and that’s what we are going to go on.
“These lads that go out fighting on the road are tough but I don’t care how I win, I just need to start off with a victory.”
The Pendle pugilist, who fights out of Elite Boxing in Bolton, has been hitting the road with coach Alex Matvienko in a bid to get the best sparring possible.
Larkin has taken on Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Sean McGoldrick and Marc Leach, who challenges Thomas Essomba for the vacant English title at bantamweight next month.
The pair are among Jamie Moore’s stable at the VIP Gym in Astley, which houses the likes of Carl Frampton, Rocky Fielding, Martin Murray and Jack Catterall.
“I’ve been mixing with some of the best lads in the country,” he said. “I’ve been moving around with Marc Leach, who fights for the English title soon, and I’ve sparred with a few top class amateurs as well.
“I’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym before work and then I’ve been sparring on my dinner breaks.
“I’ve been putting the hard work in and I can’t wait for it now. It’s here again, the fourth time around, and I’m ready. It’s a big event and I’m fighting on a good undercard so I’ve got to try and impress.
“I’m fighting at featherweight so I’m feeling big and strong, I haven’t had to drain myself to make weight.
“Alex Matvienko has been drilling it in to me to stay calm and concentrate. I can’t lose focus. I’ll be nervous going in to it but I’ve just got to listen to my corner at the end of each round.”
Sam would like to thank PKB Building and Roofing, Steptoes Yard, Unique Clean, Viverre Liberaire, Norpol Recycling, Mick Hughes Sports Massage, JOG Building Services, Intershape Fitness, The Asphalt Works, Shokwaves Barbers and DWE Building and Landscape Specialists for their ongoing sponsorship and support.