Olympian Pat McCormack has vowed to put on a show for the fans when the British Lionhearts take on the Croatian Knights in the World Series of Boxing at Gateshead Leisure Centre tonight.
The match is the first time a WSB event has been held in the North East and the first time that Washington fighter McCormack, Birtley ABC’s two-time European Championship silver medallist will have boxed in the region for more than six years.
The 22-year-old is unbeaten in WSB action and is aiming to add to his record of five straight wins when he tops the bill for the Lionhearts against Mate Rudan at light-welterweight.
Speaking at a community event where members of the British Lionhearts team linked up with sports scholars from Gateshead College and boxers from clubs in the region, McCormack said: “The last time I boxed in the North East was a long time ago in a small club show, so to be coming back to box in a WSB event is going to be amazing.
“I have lot of family, friends and people from my boxing club coming along so I am determined to put on a show and enjoy myself.
“The WSB events are much more like a pro-boxing show with a ring walk, face-offs and lots more noise, so the fact we have three North East boxers on the bill is great for the fans and should make for a brilliant atmosphere.
“I have not boxed my opponent before, but the coaches and I have watched him on video so have a good idea of his strengths and weaknesses.
“He looks like a game lad, but I am not fazed by anyone and there is no way I am going to let anyone get the better of me in my own backyard.”
The event is nearly sold-out, though a small number of tickets are still available at www.gbboxing.org.uk/tickets
The Lionhearts line-up features a strong North East contingent with McCormack being joined in the team by clubmate Calum French and Sunderland ABC’s Kiaran MacDonald, 20.
French has won three out of three WSB bouts and will take on Matteo Komadina at lightweight.
MacDonald makes his first appearance in the five-round format against fellow debutant David Alaverdian, from Israel, who is one of the Croatian team’s overseas picks.
Two overseas selections complete the Lionhearts team.
Ireland’s three-time European champion, Joe Ward, will box at light-heavyweight and New Zealander Patrick Mailata at super-heavyweight