FOR years he was the standard bearer for Wombwell and Dearne Amateur Boxing Club but now Connor Nixon is all set for his professional debut.
The 18-year-old has signed professional forms with Stefy Bull at the Empress Gym in Mexborough and will make his debut tomorrow night against tricky journeyman Delroy Spencer at Doncaster Dome.
While he is leaving a brilliantly successful amateur career behind, his former coach at Wombwell and Dearne ABC will certainly be in his thoughts.
Eric Walker passed away earlier this year and Nixon is determined to achieve the heights he is predicted for in honour of the well-loved coach.
Nixon, from Hatfield in Doncaster, said: “Eric was brilliant and the main driving force behind what I achieved.
“I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for him.
“It’s a massive shame he won’t be there to see me make my pro debut but I’ll try and do him proud.”
While working with Walker at the Bolton-upon-Dearne gym, Nixon won Junior ABA, Clubs for Young People and British Tri Nations titles as well as representing England on a regular basis.
In around 40 bouts he suffered just seven defeats, a superb record at amateur level.
And new trainer Bull is predicting big things for the youngster dubbed ‘Pretty Boy’ by his gym mates.
He said: “We’re really confident Connor can do brilliant things in boxing.
“I definitely think he can follow in Jamie McDonnell’s footsteps and go as far as Jamie has.
“It’s no exaggeration when I say Connor’s got the best footwork and fastest hands I’ve seen for someone as young as him.
“I’ve been in the ring with Amir Khan and I’d say Connor’s hands are as fast as his.”
Nixon admitted to being initially annoyed at the ‘Pretty Boy’ tag, especially when his mates heard about it.
Now he is keen to show what lies beneath his boyband exterior and achieve what has been predicted for him.
But he is also determined to keep his feet on the ground.
Nixon said: “I’m aware of what’s been said about me but I know I’ve got a lot of hard work to do to reach the levels people say I can reach.
“I’m just going to take each fight one at a time and see where I go.”