BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Chris Bourke is looking to maintain his 100 per cent knockout ratio when he faces Nicaragua’s Jose Hernandez at Bethnal Green’s York Hall tomorrow.
The Streatham super-bantamweight has won all four of his bouts since turning professional at the end of 2018.
And Bourke, who has boxed for Great Britain and England as an amateur, should be too good for the Spanish-based journeyman, who has lost 36 of his 41 ring outings.
Hernandez has been stopped twice in 20 bouts since February 2018 and is on a 25- fight losing streak.
“He is tough and I’m looking for the stoppage,” said Bourke. “It is still a big opportunity to make a statement.
“If I get rounds under my belt that is good but hopefully the stoppage comes.
“There is a bit of pressure, there is always a pressure going into any fight. I always feel nervous going into them. No matter who my opponent is they are trying to take your head off.
“It would be good to get an emphatic win.”
Bourke had a year away from the sport before his debut in the paid ranks.
And he is happy to take his time moving up the rankings and getting title shots.
“I had time out for family issues, a few personal problems,” said Bourke. “So I’m not rushing or chasing anything.
“I missed being out of boxing. I thought I would be back in the gym but I just wasn’t able to at the time.
“When I was with GB I had a year as well where I had glandular fever for six months, fractured my eye socket and broke my nose in the World Boxing Super Series fighting in Kazakhstan. They say things come in threes!
“I think my manager Martin Bowers believes I can win titles.
“I said I wanted to stay busy and fight as regularly as possible and I’ve boxed pretty much every other month. I didn’t want to be inactive. It’s important to be get up the rankings.
“I’m 24, still young. There are a lot of big fights out there but it is about those fights coming at the right time. I trust my manager and team around me to choose when it is best.
“I feel I’m ready but you have got to do these things properly – get your education in the pro game.
“Everyone who knows me, and I’ve always felt the same, reckons my style suits the pros. I like to take my time, pick my shots and I get stronger as the rounds go on.”
Bowers trains Bourke – and Greenwich’s Daniel Dubois is a stable mate at the Peacock Gym in Canning Town. The South Londoner also trains there with James Branch.
It provides a bit of camaraderie in a sport that is not a team game.
“It is like a real family,” said Bourke. “All the boys are going through the same journey.
“You can’t pass the buck in boxing. One day off it and you can set your career back months or even years. You’ve always got to be on top form.
“I think Daniel can be a world champion. He’s young and people underestimate his boxing skills. Not only can he box but he has got a big punch on him that can take people out.
“I’d boxed for Balham and when I went pro I was trying different gyms to see what fitted and worked well for me. I knew Daniel and James from Team GB. They told me to come over and try it and it was a good fit straight away.
“Martin tells it like it is – if you are doing something wrong he’ll let you know. He is old school but also very methodical and scientific with his training. Every session is planned and different.
“That’s refreshing, otherwise you go a bit stale.”
Bourke is a Millwall fan.
“My dad Dave has been a season-ticket holder for years,” he said. “I’m hoping to get a few extra ticket sales and get some Millwall boys behind me. That noise they generate could be the difference in a fight if you are struggling. They can lift you up and help you push forward. It’s massive.
“A lot of people don’t realise in pro boxing at the beginning there is no money in it unless you are an Olympic gold medallist. It is all down to ticket sale. My last fight I had to sell 60 tickets before I made a penny.
“I don’t think a lot of people realise how hard it is.”
Croydon’s Sunny Edwards (12-0) drops down to flyweight on the same show to try and win two vacant belts – the IBF international and WBO inter-continental – as he takes on Mexico’s Rosendo Hugo Guarneros (16-2-2).
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD