Bolton wonder Jack Flatley embarks on his professional journey with the goal of securing the British title which narrowly eluded him in the amateur ranks.
The 20 year old middleweight earned the nickname of ‘Jack the Giant Killer’ after executing a string of upsets in the 2015 ABA championships.
‘I eventually lost to (European quarter-finalist) Troy Williamson in the final,’ says the 5ft 11in sociology student who is in the final year of a bachelor of science honours degree at the University of Manchester.
‘I thought I might’ve done enough but no complaints. That was the highlight of my amateur career. It earned me an England vest against Wales but I felt I was robbed against Jamie Evans and, though Team GB offered me an assessment, I’d already decided to try my luck in the pros.’
Flatley’s fight journey began at the Bolton Lads’ gym when he was just nine years old and he passed through the New Bury and Farnworth club plus Amir Khan’s Gloves gym, before concluding his 77 bout (45 wins) amateur career at ex pro Alex Matvienko’s Halliwell ABC.
‘Right now, boxing is massive in Bolton. Within one mile, you’ve got Matt’s Elite Fitness Gym, the Fury family gym, and Amir (Khan)’s Gloves gym. There’s huge talent, huge interest,’ says Jack.
‘I first became interested after watching ‘The (US) Contender’ series on tele. Around the same time, it was the 2004 Athens Olympics and Amir Khan – a local lad – was a big part of it. But my first hero was Sugar Ray Leonard, ever since my dad and granddad introduced me to tapes of him; very entertaining.
‘I had my first contest at 12 and most of the losses came early on when I was starting out. In 2013, aged 18, I lost to Joe Lewis Di Santos from Woking in the National CYP final .
As a kid, I beat Hughie Fury, Tyson’s cousin, in three of our four fights and I also beat (2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist) Scott Fitzgerald in the North-West final of the ABAs.’
He also scalped highly regarded Londoner Jordan Reynolds and Dartford Team GB rep Daniel Woledge en route to this year’s final at Liverpool’s Echo Arena but feels the pro arena will provide a better platform for his skill set.
He says: ‘I can box or fight. I’m quite quick on my feet but I’ll need to slow that down for the pros. In the amateurs, I always came on strong late, hurt opponents at the end of fights so hopefully the longer pro fights will suit me. My favourite combination is jab-right hook round the side, either to head or body.’
Flatley will be managed by wily local fight face Steve Wood and continue to be coached by Matvienko, a one-time spar hand to Amir Khan who lost just once in a 19 fight pro career between 2005-10.
Sparring tutorials have already been conducted with three time world middleweight challenger Martin Murray and reigning Commonwealth super-middle king Luke Blackledge to accelerate Flatley’s transition between the codes.
‘Both are very calm and experienced. Martin wears you down and is very tricky; tap, tap, Bang! Luke has a phenomenal work rate, as high as the top amateurs,’ said Jack.
‘The Giant Killer’ will get a flavour of the big time bills he one day hopes to front when he makes his pro bow on the undercard of Frank Warren’s bumper ‘World War III’ promotion at Manchester Arena on October 10th.
‘For my debut, I’ll have had a nine week camp and, five weeks out, I’ve already sold over 90 tickets,’ says Flatley who meets Lydney’s Lewis van Poetsch in a four rounder.
‘My aim is to win impressively, leave a lot of people talking about my performance. Hopefully, all the hard work I’ve been putting in will pay off.’
‘For my first year, I simply hope to build my record up then maybe three years down the line, I’d love a British title. I honestly think I’ve the talent, the team and the sponsors to achieve that.’
Tickets for World War III, headlined by the WBO World Lightweight Championship Terry Flanagan v Diego Magdaleno and the Vacant WBO World Super-Welterweight Championship Liam Smith v John Thompson, plus a title packed undercard, are priced at £40, £75, £125, £200, £300 and £500* and available here
The Channel Of Champions, BoxNation, will televise, live and exclusive in the UK on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 415. Subscribe at BoxNation or watch online at Livesport.tv or via iPhone, iPad or Android.
*Tickets subject to booking fee.