Streatham amateur star Chris Bourke ready for pro debut


Chris Bourke is set to make his professional debut in a week’s time – and the former GB man is putting no limits on what he can achieve.

The 24-year-old from Streatham will box on the December 7 show at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

And Bourke, who fought for Balham ABC in the unpaid ranks and won gold and silver medals for Great Britain at international tournaments as well as competing in the World Series Boxing, is being trained and managed by Martin Bowers.

His first outing will be on a show which Bowers traditionally puts on before Christmas.

Bourke is a free agent promotionally, but does not expect to be unattached for too long.

“I haven’t signed anything yet but I know Frank Warren wants to sign me,” he said. “I’ll probably leave it open for now and maybe sort out a contract with someone early next year.

“The main thing for me is a guarantee I’ll be busy. There is no point going with a big promoter if you are only going to fight once or twice a year. It’s about whether they will be happy for me to box on other shows if necessary.

“I don’t want to take it slow but at the same time I want to be sensible. I can’t see myself doing too many four rounders. I’ll probably go to six rounds after my first one. I would like to be fast-tracked.”

Bourke used to spar with Stockwell’s Isaac Dogboe. The pair are the same age but the latter, who splits his time between London and Ghana, is WBO world super-bantamweight champion and is set to make a defence of his title against Emanuel Navarrete at Madison Square Garden on December 8.

“It would have been just after the 2012 Olympics for him when we sparred,” said Bourke. “He was definitely a good fighter. I thought he’d do well in the pro game.

“If I spar someone my weight I wouldn’t show them everything I can do if I might meet them in a proper fight. If they were a weight above me then I would go a little bit harder, because there is less chance of me fighting them in the future.

“Isaac has done it the hard way. He has been one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the last few years. A fight between us is a long way away.

“In terms of domestically, I’m not too sure who the main men are. There is no-one out there to really worry me.”

Bourke had several months out with glandular fever before winning the Golden Gong in November 2016 on his international debut for GB.

“My whole amateur career everyone said I was more suited to the pros,” he said. “I had 69 fights and I probably lost the first round of most of them and had to win the second and third rounds. I like to take my time, pick my shots.

“In the pros you can show your class more and dig your shots in. If there had been one more round in the amateurs then I would have stopped a lot of the boys I faced.

“I feel I have done my part for GB. I always wanted to turn pro and win titles.”

Bowers also trains rising Greenwich heavyweight star Daniel Dubois at his Canning Town gym.

“I could have gone with my old amateur coach at Balham but I felt a little bit stale there,” explained Bourke. “I tried a few different trainers. It just clicked with Martin. He has got a real good team around him.

“I could tell he knew what he was doing when we went on the pads and he has connections in the pro game, that was another big plus.

“Some of the other coaches I tried I found to be a little lazy, they left you to do your own thing.

“There will definitely be nerves on Friday but I’ll also be very excited. I’m itching to get in there – so many people have been waiting for me to fight because I had a year off after GB.

“I took my time to find the right coach and I’d had a few injuries in my last year with GB – I fractured my eye socket and broke my nose. I got a little fed up, I had a few personal and family issues.

“I’m proud of what I achieved for GB. I never thought I would be able to say I boxed for GB, considering my style. I’m ready for the next step now.”

Picture: Paul Reddin

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