Wearside boasts one of the best boxers in the world in Pat McCormack.
The fighter really is that good and proof that Jordan Pickford has a very good rival for being Washington’s most gifted glove-wearer.
I’ve not boxed up here for six years so to fight in front of my friends, family and a North-East crowd is specialPAT McCORMACK
But the boxer can’t wait to perform in the North-East for the first time since he was a schoolboy.
McCormack will be the headline act when Gateshead Leisure Centre hosts the first World Series of Boxing event to take place outside London when the British Lionhearts meet the Croatian Knights on Friday, February 15.
The 22-year-old, the favourite for Commonwealth Games gold in the spring and an Olympic title two more years down the line says boxing and winning on his doorstep will feel just as good.
“It’s unbelievable,” said the European Championship silver medallist. “I’m unbeaten at the York Hall in London, so that’s a good place for me.
“But, I’ve not boxed up here for six years so to fight in front of my friends, family and a North-East crowd is special.
“I want to put on a show.
“It’s good that British Boxing is taking the shows where the boxers are from and it’s a great advert for the sport. I can’t wait to get the show on the road.
“[Team-mate] Calum [French] is from Gateshead so he’s fighting in his back garden and I’m just down the road in Washington. It would be great if the place was filled out and rocking.”
The WSB is boxing’s version of the F1 Grand Prix circuit or tennis’s world tour as the best fighters in the world take on each other in big televised shows in the main cities on the planet.
Contests are staged over five rounds instead of the traditional amateur distance of three as the sport puts on showpieces akin to professional shows.
McCormack, who boasts a 100% record in WSB action with five straight wins, said: “2018 is a big year, with the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
“I want to get a couple of WSB wins under my belt and get my confidence up for the Commonwealths.”
Pat, whose twin Luke also meddled at the Euros in the summer, says he is “enjoying” life in the amateur game and has no regrets over NOT turning pro after the 2016 as many a pundit thought.
“I was still a boy after Rio but now I’m becoming a man,” added the welterweight. “Tokyo is two and a half years away and the time will fly by.”
Early bird discount tickets for British Lionhearts vs Croatian Knights are on sale now, priced £15, at www.gbboxing.org.uk/tickets.