ST Neots professional boxer Tommy Martin says he quit Peterborough United because football was a chore and he loves to fight.

Martin should be cheered on by 250 fans when he boxes at Peterborough Arena on Saturday, February 2 - and a sprinkling of Posh players are likely to be among them.

Martin was on the books at London Road and the 18 year-old lightweight said: "I met all the players the other week and I'm hoping to see them all there when I box. Gabriel Zakuani seems keen. He keeps Tweeting me.

"I'm going to wear a Peterborough shirt when I walk to the ring and hope all the Posh fans get behind me.

"I was on the books at London Road when I was 16 years old. I was a goalkeeper and used to train with first teamers like Joe Lewis, George Boyd and Craig Mackail-Smith.

"But I couldn't keep up both sports. I had to give up football or boxing. My mates thought I was mad to give up football. But football was a chore and boxing is my passion.

"I love to fight and I get so much support because I come to fight and entertain the fans. I'm a crowd-pleasing fighter.

"I want to be British champion by the time I'm 21 and if I keep winning I will get my chance."

Martin, who is sponsored by SGC Facilities Management, made a winning start to his pro career in November with a three-round stoppage of Artur Saniuk in Bethnal Green - and to further his ambitions, he has left home and based himself in London.

He has digs a short walk from the TKO gym in Canning Town where his stable mates include British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Billy-Joe Saunders and world-title challenger Kevin Mitchell.

"Being around fighters of that quality rubs off on you," said Martin. "I walk into the gym every day knowing I'm going to make myself look a mug if I don't perform.

"I sat down with my trainer Johnny Eames and he said that if I want to achieve my ambitions, I have to do it properly, and that's why I'm putting the work in."

Cello Renda defends his British Masters light-heavyweight title in the top-of-the-bill fight in Peterborough and the undercard also features top talents Sam Barron and Jordan Gill.

Anyone who needs tickets or travel from St Neots should ring 07851 112500.