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'I have done all I can as an amateur,' says changing man Joe Ham

Joe Ham, the Glasgow-born bantamweight, has become the first of Scotland's Commonwealth Games boxers to turn professional after signing with local promoter Alex Morrison.

Commonwealth champion Joe Ham believes the professional game will suit him
Commonwealth champion Joe Ham believes the professional game will suit him

The 23-year-old, who lost surprisingly to Englishman Qais Ashfaq at the quarter-final stages of Glasgow 2014, will make his professional debut at the city's Thistle Hotel on October 17.

Ham won the Scottish Championships five times in a row and reached the last 16 at the Delhi Games in 2010. The Scot subsequently defeated the gold medallist, Sean McGoldrick, at the British Championships a year later.

"I have high hopes for Joe," said Morrison, who has yet to identify Ham's opponent. "He employed the wrong tactics when he lost at the Commonwealth Games against a bigger, taller opponent. He should have concentrated on bending his knees and going for the body in an effort to rough up his opponent. But Joe is a talented fighter with a lot of amateur experience and is potentially one of the hottest prospects in the country."

Ham is confident that he will be able to progress in the professional ranks. Indeed the 23-year-old believes that he is better suited to fighting in bouts which last longer than just three rounds.

"Over a longer distance you will see a different fighter," he said. "I have achieved all I can as an amateur. I have been to four Europeans and World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and all over the world since I was 14. Now I want to stay home more."

Morrison has confirmed he advised the former two-time world champion Ricky Burns to move up to light-welterweight more than a year ago. The 31-year-old will return to the ring on a Leeds show on October 4 at the new weight after losing his WBO lightweight title to American Terence Crawford in March.

Burns also suffered a defeat by Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin for the vacant WBC International title two months ago, prompting promoter Eddie Hearn to have him evaluated by a London weight specialist. He stated the Coatbridge boxer could no longer make 135lbs efficiently.

"I told Ricky he should move up after his win over Jose Gonzalez in May last year," said Morrison, who manages Burns. "You don't need a specialist or a dietician to tell you when you are struggling to make the weight. Ricky was physically drained even before he fought Crawford.

"However, Sugar Ray Leonard, who watched the Crawford fight, expressed the view that Ricky was too big even for light-welterweight and advised he should move up."

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