Sparring with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean McGoldrick in front of a star-studded crowd has given bantamweight boxer Sam Larkin a big shot in the arm ahead of his professional debut.
The former Sandygate ABC pugilist, who turns 28 next week, shared the ring with the unbeaten Welshman at the VIP Gym in Astley with a cluster of Jamie Moore’s stable watching on.
Salford southpaw Moore, a former European light middleweight champion, two-time former British light middleweight champion and a former Commonwealth light middleweight champion, also trains the likes of Carl Frampton, Rocky Fielding, Martin Murray, Tommy Coyle, Jack Catterall, Conrad Cummings and Steven Ward, alongside Nigel Travis.
After sparring with MTK Global signed McGoldrick, who won his biggest prize in boxing in New Delhi, India, in 2010, Larkin said: “I’ve been over to Jamie Moore’s gym to do some sparring.
“He’s got the likes of Rocky Fielding, Carl Frampton, Martin Murray, Tommy Coyle and Jack Catterall, and some of them were there. I was completely star struck. Those are the boxers I’m used to watching on TV.
“I did well. It was a 50/50 spar and I was more than happy with that. I could have gone there and got outclassed by him, in front of everyone, but they want me to go back again.
“Sean is a Commonwealth gold medallist, he’s got a brilliant amateur pedigree, so I was just happy to share a ring with him. I’m over the moon that I made a good impression.
“I was in there straight away. I was in there first so I had everyone watching. The pressure was on for me.
“It’s the first time that I’ve been away. I’ve never travelled outside our gym, all the sparring has been in-house. It was a bit daunting with all those famous fighters there.”
The Elite boxing Bantamweight made the journey with coach Alex Matvienko and stablemate Liam Gaynor, who also shared a few rounds with McGoldrick.
Larkin, who has also been up against Commonwealth Featherweight title-holder Ryan Doyle in preparation for his bow, said he felt the pressure when all eyes were on him.
But the feedback has been positive and now he can showcase his talent to the public when he attends an open workout at the Market Place Shopping Centre in Bolton tomorrow.
“Jamie [Moore] couldn’t believe how big I was for a bantamweight and he was shocked when I told him that I hadn’t made my professional debut yet,” he said.
“I was buzzing about that. It was a great experience for me. I was desperate to impress them, I was nervous at first, and I know it’ll go even better next time because I know what to expect.
“I’ve been in with Ryan Doyle as well. I’ve shared the ring with some of the best lads in the country and that’s done my confidence the world of good.
“Since turning pro I’ve been mixing with some top class fighters. That’s a great accomplishment in itself. To get those compliments afterwards has really helped with that as well.”
“All this that I’m experiencing now doesn’t usually happen to people like me. I’m taking part in an open workout at a shopping centre in front of loads of people. It’s more than making up for what’s happened to me previously.”
Larkin will want to make an even better impression when he steps out for the first time on Kieran Farrell’s ‘Risk vs Reward’ show at Bolton Whites Hotel on March 2nd.
And there could be more exciting news to come off the back of his debut should he do the business.
“Kieran Farrell has offered to promote me,” Larkin said. “He wants to put a few shows on at Colne Muni before going for a shot at the Central Area title.
“He wants me to win my first four fights and then take things from there. He wants to get the fans back onside after everything that has happened and he wants to help me build my profile back up.
“We want to fill Colne Muni like Shayne Singleton used to do. Everything is coming together now and it’s starting to feel like I’m a professional boxer.
“I was close to quitting at Christmas. I’d had enough because everything was going against me. But the fire is burning inside me again now and I’m as fit as a fiddle.”