DREAMING BIG: South Mackay boxer Gaige Ireland is heading to Melbourne in the hope of becoming a professional boxer. He has 57 amateur fights to his name and has won several state and national titles.
DREAMING BIG: South Mackay boxer Gaige Ireland is heading to Melbourne in the hope of becoming a professional boxer. He has 57 amateur fights to his name and has won several state and national titles. Luis Narvaez

Gaige gloves up to go pro and chase 'dream come true'

AT 22, Gaige Ireland is packing it all up to follow his dream.

"I'm closing up my gym, my family lives next door and I have a daughter (Alexis) who's three and I'm leaving her for lengthy periods of time," he said.

Ireland is moving to Melbourne to become a professional boxer, something he has dreamed of since he first hit a bag.

"I'm really excited but nervous at the same time," he said.

Ireland visited Melbourne last month, impressing future trainers enough for them to persuade the South Mackay fighter to make the move.

"I learnt so much in three days, so I am excited to be there full-time and see how good I can be," he said.

The orthodox lightweight will base himself at Brian Butler's East End Gym in Croydon.

"At the moment, with 57 amateur fights, it's hard to get quality fights. I've given away 10-15kg just to have a fight," Ireland said.

A national champion with several Golden Gloves titles, Ireland said moving to "the hub of fighting" was a necessary step.

"I want to be the little fish in the big, big pond," he said.

"I will like that challenge."

"I want to be the little fish in the big, big pond," he said.

"I will like that challenge."

Ireland has no timeline on signing off to become professional, admitting he needs to tweak his game.

"One of the biggest things is footwork and I need to work on my left hook," he said.

"But for Brian (Butler) to persuade me to move that far away, he must see something in me."

Ireland said he expected to make his professional debut as a lightweight (61.2kg), meaning he'd have to find a way to cut about three kilograms.

"Down there you can fight in Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne on any weekend."

Ireland had not settled on a professional nickname, saying he had to earn his stripes before he could don a moniker.

Not fearful of failure, Ireland is excited to put everything on the line.

"I would rather go down there and give it my best and lose... than get to 50 (years old) and not have at least tried."



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