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Lowestoft's Anthony Ogogo makes winning start to professional career

PUBLISHED: 08:22 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 08:22 29 April 2013

Anthony Ogogo (right) in action during his victory over Kieron Gray during the Middleweight bout at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield.

Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Anthony Ogogo (right) in action during his victory over Kieron Gray during the Middleweight bout at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield. Picture: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

PA Wire

Anthony Ogogo admits a weight has been lifted off his shoulders after he won his first fight as a professional in sensational style.

The Lowestoft boxer, who became a household name last summer after winning bronze at the London Olympic Games, spent months agonising over whether to take the plunge and turn pro.

He finally decided the time was right – and in front of a big and expectant crowd at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on Saturday, he proved he was spot on with a second round stoppage of Telford’s Kieron Gray.

“That is a massive weight off my shoulders,” said Ogogo. “I sat in the showers after the fight and I thought to myself, ‘I am a pro, I am a professional athlete now’.

“I have been saying I am a pro since I signed the papers just after Christmas, but I am actually a professional athlete now.

“Anybody who knows me can see how professional my whole set-up is, my management team unbelievable, Golden Boy are the best promoters in the world and they look after me well, proper smooth operators, and with my application and dedication I really think I can do big things.

“But, yes, I really think I am a professional. Now I have got that first win out of the way it is a massive weight off my shoulders, and now I can walk to the ring in my next fight and the fights thereafter excited rather than apprehensive.”

Ogogo came out all guns blazing against the Gray, who has now lost 14 of his 20 fights, but two minutes into the second round he saw an opening and landed a straight right which floored the 35-year-old, who beat the count but was deemed unfit to continue.

“I didn’t want to look like a pro straight out of the amateurs,” said Ogogo. “Even if I went the six rounds I wanted to give a mature performance that replicated something like a seasoned pro. I didn’t want to look like I had just turned pro.

“I got excited, I threw a lot of shots. Micky (Cantwell) my trainer told me to let my hands go. I am a full-time athlete, I am very fit – I was fit enough to do the six rounds – and I wanted to set the pace and make people fight at my pace and make it uncomfortable for him.

“Some of my friends were sat near his corner and they said they were telling him to rough me up and bully me because that is what people do when they first turn pro because they think you are going to come out all tippy tappy and very amateur-like in your approach and I think I proved them quite wrong.

“I held my feet a bit, I stuck some big body shots in and slowed him down. I think he was quite surprised with my power – he is a very resilient guy.

“As soon as he started walking into my jabs and right hands he must have thought, ‘hang on, I don’t really want to do this now’.

“I got a foothold in the fight in the second round and I relaxed. It was nice getting back to the corner and getting told I was doing well because I didn’t know if I was doing well or not, I was so tense.

“In the second round I was more relaxed, I calmed down a bit, I picked my shots better and obviously I got the win by way of TKO.

“I watched it back on the tape and it looked like a good shot and fair play to him. His arm was down, he was about to throw a punch himself so he was exposed. Obviously with my speed I beat him to the punch. I punch on the toe and I worked on that.

“I was never renowned as being that much of a puncher as an amateur, I was more known for speed, but I believe speed is power.”

Ogogo still harbours ambitions of fighting locally before the end of the year, but Golden Boy have confirmed that he is pencilled in to fight in Atlantic City on May 18.

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