Scott Fitzgerald hoping to become British Champion after overcoming substance abuse

Scott Fitzgerald

Preston’s Scott Fitzgerald has returned to his old gym ahead of his title fight on Saturday to get away from the distractions in his hometown.

Fitzgerald faces Ted Cheeseman for the British Light Welterweight title in Newcastle.

He trained for his last fight in Preston – but has switched to Jennings Gym in Chorley for this bout.

It’s because Fitzgerald, who has battled with drug addiction for many years, was – according to his dad – getting distracted by being based in his hometown.

Fitzgerald has worked hard to live the boxing life this year in a bid to reach his full potential.

He was unbeaten in his first 12 fights but did not have any major scalps until his last fight against former Olympian Anthony Fowler, which was the first full training camp of his professional career.

On that night, he said: “It was a great night, a lot of fun, and a good win to kick me up there. Now I can push on and have a good career.”

The gold medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games has trained in the Jennings gym in Chorley for the majority of his career, but trained with his dad for his last fight, at the Larches and Savick gym in Preston.

Scott’s father Dave is a former fighter, and a coach for team GB, and he told his son to go back to Jennings to avoid any potential distractions that could arise in Preston.

“My Dad just wanted me to get away from Preston,” said Fitzgerald. “I’d spent some time with Mick anyway, and my dad knows they’re good coaches, and trusts them.”

Jennings Gym is run by brothers Mike and Dave Jennings. Despite working with them for his upcoming fight, Fitzgerald’s father will still be part of the team on Saturday night.

Head trainer Mike Jennings has allowed Scott to live with him and his family throughout the training camp to make sure everyone sees the best Scott Fitzgerald during the title fight.

Since their break from working with each other, the brothers believe the light-welterweight has improved since they last worked together.

Dave said: “He’s definitely got better, because he’s come into camp in better shape. We have been able to work on technical stuff rather than just getting his weight down.”

Throughout Fitzgerald’s career he has been plagued with injuries.

He has picked up a number of hand injuries and had to pull out of his fight with North West counterpart Brian Rose in July, which prevented him from building on his career best win against Fowler.

The 27-year-old believes the training camp couldn’t have been any better this time out.

Fitzgerald said: “It’s been good. It’s been hard work. I have trained very hard every day and not missed a session. Last time I got a bit ill, but this time I’ve stayed healthy, so it’s all good. I’m looking forward to the fight now.”

Nicknamed the ‘Mad Man’, Fitzgerald became a father for the first time last week after the birth of his son Archie.

He is hoping to celebrate the birth of his son by winning the title in Newcastle.

‘Fitzy’ is challenging Ted ‘The Big Cheese’ Cheeseman who has much more experience than the Mad Man, as he has had 24 bouts and challenged for the European title – despite being four years his junior.

Current British Champion Ted Cheeseman

He insists he is confident in dealing with whatever his London opponent throws at him.

Fitzgerald added: “We have plan A, B, and C, but he likes to put pressure on. He’s a fit game tough lad. He’s strong, but I’m stronger, and it would take some man to be stronger than me at that weight.

“I’m ready for whatever he brings on the night.”

Should the Preston man get through on Saturday he has a clear path in mind for his career, which includes winning the British title outright.

He added: “I’d love to win it outright. If I come out with no injuries I’d like to get a quick defence before the end of the year, maybe one at the start of the year and then go for the European title – then have one last defence against Fowler.”