WELTERWEIGHT Ollie Pinnock feels the time is right for him to make his professional debut.
The 33-year-old Leigh fighter joins the paid ranks for the first time on Saturday when he faces Bulgarian fighter Vasil Vasilev in east London.
And the former Southend ABC pugilist reckons he is better placed now to step up to the professional ranks than at any time in his boxing career.
“I feel I have always been capable of fighting professionally and I had the chance about 10 years ago,” said Pinnock.
“But I found out my wife, Victoria, was pregnant with our twin girls and it was important to get a proper job to support them.
“The girls are 10 now and my son George is nine, I’m in a better place financially and have got the partying done, so I’m at the age where I can dedicate myself to it.”
Pinnock goes into the ring at York Hall confident he can give a good account of himself.
He has watched YouTube footage of orthodox Vasilev in action and says he is “not expecting any problems”.
The 20-year-old from Razgrad has had 14 fights, winning four and losing the rest. He lost on a technical knockout to Tilbury boxer Matt McCarthy last November but since then has won three of his four bouts.
But former Belfairs School pupil Pinnock feels he is in good shape for the bout, which will be over four three-minute rounds at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.
He was undefeated in his 10 unlicensed fights and had to box as a light middleweight or middleweight in order to get opponents.
Pinnock has shed 10lb in the last few weeks to return to welterweight for his pro debut after signing a three-year deal with Steve Goodwin Promotions.
“The level is not a massive jump from what I had been doing with unlicensed bouts,” added Pinnock, who joined Goodwin Promotions after being approached by the company after one of his bouts.
“I have been sparring at Club KO in London with some good opposition and have not been out of my depth.
“When you box you have to almost live like a monk, but now I’m a bit older there are no temptations and pressure and I have been able to concentrate on preparing for the fight.
“Training is a lot more intensive than what I have been used to. When you are doing unlicensed fights you do not have a coach, so there’s no one pushing you.
“But now I’m doing four hours a day, six days a week and I’m relishing it.”
Pinnock has been sparring at Club KO and doing gym work at Evolution Gym in Leigh and Southend Combat Academy on the Grainger Road Industrial Estate.
He will have more than 100 people going to watch him fight including ex-English lightweight champ Danny Hunt, who he grew up fighting with at Southend ABC.
Pinnock’s fight is on the undercard of the To Hell and Back show which will see three title fights.
Among them will be South Woodham fighter Danny Brown’s rematch for the British Master’s middleweight crown against Diego Burton.
Pinnock thanked sponsors Crowestone Shipbrokers, Southend Combat Academy, Vividtone Print Solutions, The Britannia pub and Evolution Gym for their support.