Pound for Pound Palace boxing gym in Southampton have had great success recently, so much so that the site in Northam Road is quickly turning into a hub for amateur boxing.

Fighters Mitchell Woollard and Gracjan Bak won their pro debuts last October.

Wollard beat Paul Cummings while Bak defeated Chris Adaway, both coming by way of unanimous decision.

Next week, Bak and fellow fighter Valentino Marku will step inside the ring in Bournemouth at the O2 Academy. The event on February 24 will once again be hosted by Steve Bendall.

Bak will be looking for his second successive victory while Marku will be making his professional debut. 

Both fighters originally started in other combat sports before making their transitions in the last couple of years.

To prepare for their fights, they take part in competitive sparring sessions with boxers from other gyms.

Daily Echo: Bak in a competitive sparBak in a competitive spar (Image: Jack Peskett)

Bak, who is originally from Poland, moved to the UK 10 years ago and has previous experience in judo and Brazilian jujitsu.

The Polish ace is keen to remain undefeated.

He said: “I don’t care about my opponent, it’s not my job to look into them, I just do my job which is to fight.

“The Palace have helped me prepare massively for this, it’s like my second home, I can’t wait to go again.”

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Marku, originally from Albania, moved to the UK four years ago and began his career around the same time, but in kickboxing.

He was supposed to fight on the same card as Bak and Woollard in October, but it fell through due to some difficulties.

He said: “My paperwork from the British Boxing Board wasn’t ready, I had an assignment from them, but it just got delayed, which cancelled my plans.”

Discussing how he is feeling since his transition to pro, Marku said: “It’s been really good, I can see progress. Gennardy is a great coach who has always been in the pro scene.

“Winning is so important to me, but it’s more important for me to perform well and make sure I enjoy it.

“So far I’ve only had four boxing matches, so it’s a big step up.

“I feel very good that I can win and perform well, I want it to be a good fight as well.”

The duo, just like with Woollard, will be led by gym owner Steve Barnes and head coach Gennady Gordienko.

“I’ll tell you my secret, I train them both very hard, both morning and evening,” said Gordienko.

“We have 11 sessions a week, which ends up over 20 hours.

“They’ve both improved a lot but that’s down to hard work.

“I have to train them differently, Valentino is a southpaw and a flyweight, whereas Gracjan is an orthodox and a welterweight.

“In 18 months, we’ll jump up to the next level and make very good progress.

“(Woollard) will be boxing soon, in March at the next show in Southampton.”

Daily Echo: Head coach Gordienko giving instructions to MarkuHead coach Gordienko giving instructions to Marku (Image: Jack Peskett)

Gym owner Barnes, who has run Pound for Pound for around 10 years, has made it into a hub of amateur boxing in the city.

Last year was the first time the Palace had a breakthrough in the professional game.

Barnes said: “We’ve been doing the amateur scene for a decade now and it’s brilliant to have some professionals here.

“This year we’re hoping to get our pros to fight at least six times this year, which will be huge.

“Having amateurs here has always been an amazing turnover, but there are goals in mind.

“The next steps now are to get a pro managers licence, become a hub for professionals, represent them on shows, promote them as our own and have the power to match fighters.”

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At this moment in time, the pair's opponents are both being kept confidential.

Barnes added: “For now, I’ll keep that to myself, as I believe it helps with build up to the fights.

“Just like in the amateur scene, fighters can pull out last minute and plans change.

“Another thing is that people can check Boxing Rec and make their own assumptions without knowing the fighters, who our fighters get put up against is out of our hands.”

Tickets for the show in Bournemouth are still available to buy and are priced at £40 for seating and £35 for standing areas.