Sandygate ABC ace Reece Farnhill moves over to the pro ranks
England Boxing's Northern Area champion Reece Farnhill has turned over to the pro ranks after signing with Maree Boxing.
The Sandygate ABC star, who has recently been competing in triathlons and Ironman events, fought 53 times as an amateur, winning 40 of those bouts and stopping more than 50 per cent of his opponents.
The 22-year-old has toured Europe since putting on the gloves for the first time as a teenager - visiting Spain, Denmark, Holland and Ireland - and has picked up a number of belts along the way.
Speaking about the four-time North West titlist, who also prevailed in the Class B Senior Developments National Championships, manager Kevin Maree said: "He's a real talent, who will be more suited to the pro game.
"He used to come to spar with some of the professionals on my books so I've always taken an interest in his development.
"Fighting three rounders in the amateur ranks isn't his style, but he'll make a brilliant professional.
"We just decided that the time was right; I think this will be perfect for him. He won't be fighting for a few months yet so we can start building him now."
Maree, who also has Mark Heffron, Jack Massey and Josh Holmes on his books, added: "He's got the talent, but he's also a fantastic lad, he's dedicated and he lives the life. It will be well worth investing my time in an athlete like him.
"He used to come up and spar with Qasim Niaz. He reminded me of Kenny Anderson, who would just overwhelm his opponents.
"He's relentless, he's got a phenomenal engine, he'll just keep going and going, plus he can hit as well. That's exactly what Kenny and Luke Blackledge were like.
"They'd just smother their opponents, they wouldn't give them a chance to breathe. Reece will grow to be an amazing pro."
Farnhill, who will continue to be coached by Andy Howcroft and Shane Armer at the Hargreaves Street hub, has been sharing the ring with some top class operators in readiness for the switch.
Having previously traded blows with British title challenger and ex-English champion Shayne Singleton and Qasim Niaz, the Sabden-based fighter has been sparring with the likes of Liam Smith, Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Cullen and Kyle Lomotey.
"I'm really glad we can do this," Maree said. "He's been with Andy since day one. He was at the counter when Reece first walked into the gym and they've been together ever since.
"They've traveled all around the world together so I wouldn't want it any other way.
"It means he'll become the first ever pro to represent the gym. That's great because as a gym it has got such a rich history.
"I have good memories there, it's really special for me, so I'm going to throw a lot of weight behind Reece.
"It's good that he'll be sticking with Sandygate because it will give the amateur lads somebody to aspire to as well.
"They should have that kind of setup because it gives them the opportunity to see that next step on the ladder."
Maree continued: "I've always wanted a pro from Burnley and now we'll be looking to have a presence in the town again.
"We want Reece to lead the way for boxing in Burnley, I want to get everybody in the town behind him.
"We've not really had a boxer representing the town since Warren Stowe. He's worthy of people's support because he's such a good kid with a bright future."
All the necessary paperwork has been submitted to the British Boxing Board of Control, meaning that Farnhill could yet make his bow this year.
Maree finished: "We'll be looking to move him up to six rounds as quickly as possible, because that's more suited to his style, and move him up to 5-0 on local shows before moving on.
"From there we'll be looking at getting him fighting in Burnley where we can look at getting him higher up on the bill.
"We'll start looking to build him a following during his apprenticeship then we can really get going. Getting my fighters to 10-0 is the benchmark and at that point we'll start to re-evaluate."