Former amateur champion Jake Bonallie is making his first bid at professional stardom tonight – on the undercard of the huge David Haye v Tony Bellew fight.
Bonallie has landed a plum fight for his pro debut, fighting Merseysider Craig Glover at cruiserweight as part of the Sky Box Office show.
It’s a remarkable step up for the Seaburn man, but one he hopes will launch his career in a new direction.
Bonallie is a former amateur boxer who won several titles, including the Tyne, Tees and Wear belt.
The 28-year-old fought out of Sunderland ABC, and has previously sparred with the likes of Glenn Foot, Warren Baister and Tony Jeffries.
However, since turning professional has been working with trainer Mick Duncan, from Longbenton.
He has yet to step into the ring in his paid career, but has been given the chance to fight in front of thousands of people on live TV on the undercard of the grudge heavyweight clash between Brits Haye and Bellew.
Bonallie took part in the weigh-in yesterday, coming face to face for the first time with Glover.
Bonallie’s dad, Russell, said: “Jake’s got a good amateur pedigree and a good record.
“He’s fought in New York, Spain and Ireland but this is obviously a different kettle of fish to what we’re used to.
“I don’t think anyone wanted to fight Glover, but Jake has taken it. We’re expecting a war.”
The cruiserweight contest looks set to be the first fight of the night in the build-up to the main attraction.
Glover is a close friend of Bellew, and sparred with him before turning professional last year.
He has had two fights, stopping Darren Snow in three rounds in a dream debut on Bellew’s undercard when he won the world title at Goodison Park by beating Ilunga Makabu.
Five months later he appeared on another Bellew bill, outpointing Rolandas Cesna when he won every round, but admits he’s stepping into the unknown tomorrow night.
“It will be a bit of a mystery,” Glover said. “Never mind not knowing how he (Bonallie) boxes, I don’t even know what he looks like!
“But I’m looking forward to it.”