YORK boxer Jamie Kirby has made the move into the professional ranks and joined the growing number of fighters in Steve Melton's gym.

Kirby has a long-established background in kickboxing, having fought over 100 times across all formats of the sport.

The Acomb-based fighter finished his amateur kickboxing career with a record of 19 wins, one draw and five defeats during his 25 full contact bouts.

Kirby then made the move to amateur boxing with York ABC and following a stint there he decided to turn over under the guidance of Melton.

"I started kickboxing when I was seven-years-old," said Kirby. "I'm 27 now, so I've been fighting for 20 years. In kickboxing, I fought at a really high level, up and down the country.

"I thought to myself, 'I've loved boxing all my life, I'm going to make a change and turn professional because I don't want to let all of those years go to waste.'

"I've made that decision to turn over and go pro.

"I've known Steve for a lot of years, even back when Steve used to be involved with kickboxing.

"I thought that I'd come to Steve because I know how good he is and the number of pros that he's got in his gym."

Kirby, who is looking to compete in the super-welterweight division (154lbs), is hard at training at present, looking to ready himself both physically and technically ahead of his professional debut.

He added: "I know that it's going to be tough because it's a different sort of fitness from what the kickboxing fitness was. It's a lot more intense.

"But I do believe that I have got what it takes to fitness-wise and that when I'm fit, I'll be up to the level needed.

"You're always learning when you're in the gym and we're working on new things all of the time.

"I know that I've got a lot of things to learn and adapt to and that will come. The kickboxing stance and the boxing stance are completely different.

"But, I do believe that I can adapt."

Melton believes that his aforementioned kickboxing background should help him mould Kirby's progression.

The trainer said: "I did kickboxing years ago myself so I know the differences between the two.

"What you have to remember is that they are two completely different sports.

"Some people think that just because you punch in both, they're the same.

"But all of your stances and hands are different.

"It's not a case of working Jamie from scratch because he's had a few amateur boxing fights and he's been round boxing for a long time."

Melton added: "Jamie's getting fit and we need to get him fit more than anything at the moment.

"It's hard at the moment with all of the restrictions going on. He's a good lad and he's got something about him, so if he listens he should be fine.

"He's a good super-welterweight for the weight, he's tall and gangly. So it's just a case of getting him some good quality sparring and him learning on the job too.

"It's a good time for him while all this is going on because we've got a bit of time on our hands to work on stuff."

Kirby will be managed by York's Glenn Banks, who also guides the careers of fellow York fighters Cam Shaw and Harry Matthews.