PADDY Fitzpatrick praised the performance and attitude of Jensen Irving following Saturday’s Fight Town I victory over Michael Hall at the Oasis Leisure Centre.

Irving, who was making his professional debut at the Neilson Boxing-promoted show, made a winning start to his career – which was developed by chance after trainer Fitzpatrick bumped into the welterweight more than a year after the pair agreed to go their separate ways following a training breakdown.

The 29-year-old agreed to return to the gym after 18 months away from the sport.

And he has since excelled – now sparring with the promising Ryan Martin after turning his own personal life issues around.

Fitzpatrick said: “When Jensen first came to the gym, he wasn’t able to do everything technical.

“He always allowed an excuse. And when the going got tough, he hid behind an excuse.

“Three years ago, I told him that we were done – our working relationship was over.

“Him staying in the gym weakened my word, because I would be telling people to do this or they would be off.

“He left, and then I bumped into him by chance in a café. I asked him what he was up to, and he didn’t give a reply.

“I told him to get back down the gym, but do as I tell him.

“He went back down the gym and he’s given every single thing to it, to the point now where him and Ryan are trading punches in sparring sessions.

“Now, he’s realised he can do this.”

Fitzpatrick described Irving’s professional debut bow as a dominant and clean performance.

But given he was against an opponent that is yet to win one of his 34 pro fights, the Ferndale Road-based coach admits there is still more to come.

He added: “Jensen is one of those dudes who is a natural athlete – he’s just one of those dudes.

“I thought he was so dominant and clean.”