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Tommy Fletcher makes big impression in professional boxing debut at the OVO Arena

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‘Punch perfect’ – that was how Tommy Fletcher described his debut as a professional boxer on Saturday evening.

Live in front of the BT Sport cameras on the Joe Joyce undercard at a packed out OVO Arena in Wembley, the 20-year-old could have been forgiven for looking a little like a rabbit trapped in the headlights.

But big things are expected of the Hockwold cum Wilton cruiserweight – and he rose to the occasion.

Tommy Fletcher celebrates his victory at the Wembley Arena. Picture: Queensberry Boxing
Tommy Fletcher celebrates his victory at the Wembley Arena. Picture: Queensberry Boxing

His bout with Aron Vrnoga was still very much in its infancy when he put his Croatian opponent on the canvas and from that moment on there was only one outcome.

Referee Marcus McDonnell ultimately stopped the fight with just 58 seconds on the clock, sealing a dream start to life in the big time.

Fletcher – a former Hockwold, Feltwell and Brandon school pupil – said: “It was a punch perfect debut in a lot of ways.

“It was my first senior fight, I’m very young to be turning pro but I rose to the occasion.

“There was some nerves in the changing room but as soon as it was time to go I switched on.

“I could hear the crowd chanting my name while I waited to come out and that gave me a lot of confidence.

“There was no real pressure to win in style – a win is a win, especially in four first fight, and had it gone four rounds then so be it.

“But I’ve managed to put him down twice and really show what I can do.”

Fletcher’s victory – and the manner in which it was achieved – was all the more impressive given that the identity of the fighter in the other corner changed as late as 48 hours before fight night.

He had been preparing to face a southpaw, but an 11th hour switch matched him up against the orthodox Vrnoga, who had won his one and only professional fight to date last month.

“He was a late replacement and he was game to fight,” added Fletcher, who came through the ranks at Attleborough Boxing Club.

“When we were eye to eye at the weigh-in, I could see he was ready for it.

“It was a tough test because usually for your first fight you’d face a journeyman boxer, not someone on the up.

“Thankfully I dealt with him. As soon as I landed a nice shot to the body that sent him down I knew I was in control – it was just about finishing him.”

The ‘Norfolk Nightmare’ is now enjoying a short break, yet he is already buzzing to get back in the ring.

Details at the moment are sketchy, but Fletcher is hopeful he could be on the card of another showpiece event in Manchester later this year.

“I’ve been out of the ring for more than two years because of Covid so Saturday felt like it had been a long time coming,” he said.

“Since turning professional there has been a lot of things to get into place like managers and promoters, but everything is rolling the right way now.

“There are still bits to sort but hopefully I’ll be fighting on an even bigger show than Saturday in Manchester around September time.

“I’ll soon be straight back at it in the gym after a short break. This is just the start and now I’ve got to keep pushing on.”