DARLINGTON bantamweight boxer Josh Babb is setting his sights high after an impressive pro debut and is relishing his next outing next month.

Babb - who is coached by Argie Ward, who was Darlington's first fighter to hold a major title - hopes this will be a busy year following his decisive professional debut win in Middlesbrough in February in a six-round contest with Bradford’s Jake Pollard.

He returns to the ring to take on Lancashire’s Stephen Jackson on northern promoter Mark Prior’s Spennymoor show on April 6.

"I won my first pro bout convincingly 60 points to 54 because I made sure that I listened to instructions given by my coach,’ said Babb.

"It was a six rounder which is unusual for a first pro fight. They’re normally just four rounds. It’ll be six rounds at Spennymoor too. Turning professional had been a long-held ambition and I was delighted to sign with One Empire Management.

"I’m still trained by Argie Ward at Ward Degnans boxing club. He’s a former Commonwealth champion and has coached me since I started boxing. I’m there training twice a day six days a week.’

Babb, 23, has always lived in Darlington and works in his father’s fishing business. He describes himself as "a quiet person who keeps himself to himself but who loves everything about boxing." 

Prior to joining the paid ranks Babb had 70 amateur bouts, winning 10 regional titles and reaching many national finals including winning box cups at Hull and Haringey in 2022.

"The highlight for me was winning the senior GB Tri-Nations competition which made me the number one amateur in Great Britain," he said.

"He’s been with me since he was nine. He boxed in the amateurs to gain experience and finished by beating top amateur Edward Hardy," said coach Ward, who has high hopes for Babb.

"Josh has every chance to become a major force on the northern professional scene. His attitude is right as he eats, sleeps, breathes boxing as you can see from the boxing gloves tattooed on his chest. He’s got guts. Absolutely no fear of anyone. The potential’s enormous.’

Like all newly professional boxers, Babb’s bouts are on the ‘small hall’ scene in venues accommodating at the most 2,000 spectators with the onus on the ‘home’ boxers like Babb to sell tickets.

"It’s a challenge," he admits, "but it allows me to get to know who my fans are as I deliver the tickets."

Babb is setting his sights high.

"My main aim is to become a British champion," he says.

"I believe I have enough talent and ability to go onto bigger things and hopefully become world champion one day that’s every boxer’s goal and mine too. Time will tell.’

Babb thanked his sponsors: Empire Asbestos, MAK Roofing, Burtree MoT Centre, Elegance Beauty by Ell, The Baby Book Photography,Woodlands Tackle and Lakes, Middy Match Range, Lsdesignflooring, EasyPrep, Commercial Electrical and Commercial Maintenance owned by Lee Moss.

Those interested in training at the England Boxing affiliated Ward Degnans Club on Holly Street can contact Argie Ward on 07780 986806 or by e-mail to skipbridge_signs@yahoo.co.uk