YORK boxer John Patrick Harker will make his long-awaited professional debut next month.

Harker will box in the Sheffield Arena Car Park on Friday, June 4 as part of a show headlined by the English super middleweight title fight between Charlie Schofield and Mikey Ellison.

The fight will see Harker able to competitively box for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which has prevented any small-hall boxing taking place.

Harker, who is trained by York boxing legend and former three-time world title challenger Henry Wharton, has expressed his delight at now finally being able to look ahead to his pro debut.

“I’m over the moon,” said Harker. “By the time that I fight it’ll have been about 12 months since I announced that I was going pro.

“It has been a long time coming and I can’t wait to get in there.

“It has been a hard year, not just for myself but for everyone around the world. But you’ve just got to get on with things.

“I’ve stayed in the gym as much as I can, looked to learn as much as I can and make the time count.

“I’ve gotten into the professional style quite quickly. For the first couple of weeks, I didn’t know what I was doing but since then I got into a nice swing of things.

“I’m hitting hard, I’m hitting fast and I’m fit, so I’m just excited to get going.”

As an amateur, Harker won three Yorkshire titles and also reached the quarter-finals of the prestigious Haringey Box Cup.

He is happy with how he has adapted to the different styles of the two codes thus far.

“In the amateurs, you’ve got nine minutes to do absolutely everything you can” Harker explained. “In the professionals, you’ve got up to 12 rounds.

“Things are a lot slower in the pros and, as stupid as this might sound, a lot smaller. You do everything a lot smaller, with half the movement.

“It was hard to get the hang of it but once you have then it’s alright.

“You’ve got to be fit to fight, in whatever competition you’re in. In the professionals, it’s about the long distances.

“Instead of doing sprints, which I’d usually do to get fit for an amateur fight, I’ve been doing long-distance runs to keep my duration going.”

Harker also paid testament to his manager, Harrogate-based Kevin Maree, for managing him to deliver him and his gym-mate Rob Magill (who boxes on Friday night) fights so quickly after the return of fans from May 17.

“We’ve only been signed with Kevin for about four or five months and he’s done a great job to get us both out.

“We were probably two of his newest signings and he’s got us both out on the first few shows that he’s had.

“He’s doing a really good job by putting us on a great platform and I’ve just to say thank you to him.

“I’m buzzing that crowds will be allowed for the fight, which is something that I didn’t expect. Hopefully I can bring a few down to come watch me.

“I’ve been given tickets and I can request some more. Hopefully I can bring an army from York.”

Looking ahead to the future, Harker hopes to remain active for the remainder of his first year as a professional.

He added: “I’d like three fights before Christmas. That would be good going and it’d be three in six months.

"Three would be perfect, I’d love that.”