“That was for you, Mum!” Featherweight fighter Sam Larkin dedicated victory on his professional debut to his greatest inspiration.
The 28-year-old lost his biggest fan, Kerry, last year but the memory of his ‘Angel in the sky’ brought a calmness to one of the most defining moments of his life.
Larkin’s mum was ringside throughout his decorated amateur career with Sandygate ABC and was the one who encouraged him to turn over to the paid ranks.
After outpointing Ricky Leach on his bow at the Bolton Whites Hotel, he said: “It’s the best feeling in the world. That was for you, Mum.
“She was at every single one of my amateur fights, she was always the loudest person in there, and she was the one that wanted me to turn pro. All I was thinking about was her.
“I used to hide myself away as an amateur, I was always petrified, but having my Mum in my mind calmed me down and I felt like I belonged there.”
The former Park High School pupil’s relaxed demeanour shone through in, what turned out to be, an incredibly impressive performance.
The 126lb pugilist, who had Elite Boxing trio Alex Matvienko, Scott Mitchell and Tom McNeil in his corner, was composed, calculated and worked well behind an economical jab.
Within the first minute the debutant exuded confidence, showcasing an effective weaponry comprising of a spring-like lead hand, alternating hooks to head and body, uppercuts and overhand rights.
Leach, a journeyman with a 3-34-1 record, tucked up and didn’t have an answer as Larkin applied the pressure in a productive way, working the angles and opening up the guard.
Even when conceding the third, Larkin refused to be discouraged and re-established himself as the aggressor in the final round, with his explosiveness setting him apart.
“I’m buzzing,” said Larkin, who had the contest scored 39-37 in his favour. “I just can’t get over it. I’m living the dream. People are talking about my debut performance.
“Everything just went to plan. “I shocked my team, my coaches couldn’t believe that I fought like that, I shocked myself. I had all that pressure on my shoulders, I had to perform.
“My jab was brilliant. Everything was coming off that. My body shots were great. Alex was saying that it looked like I’d already had 10/15 fights.
“I was working off different angles, stepping around the side, some of my body shots were killing him. They were perfect. It all came together. It couldn’t have gone any better. I don’t want this feeling to end.”
Larkin will spar with Joe Gallagher trained Paul Butler in preparation for his second contest, which will be on the ‘Fight Night’ show, staged by Maree Promotions, at King George’s Hall on March 30th.
“I’m excited to see what can happen now,” he said. “It was definitely worth the wait. I’m realistic about my situation. It will be a short career but I’d like to win a Central Area belt.
“I’m coming off a massive win and I’ll only get better from here. I want to stay busy and I don’t want to look back with any regrets. I need to take these opportunities.”
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.