When Vladimir Belujsky sparred Irish super middleweight champion JJ McDonagh in England last year his talent caught the attention of Assassin Promotions.
"They asked me to come over for a while to spar and then Kaz Evans asked if I'd be interested in going pro," explains Vladimir.
"I always thought pro boxing would suit me better. So when the opportunity came along, I grabbed it. I haven't looked back."
Belujsky (21) has lived in Mitchelstown for almost 10 years. As an amateur, he claimed a few titles and boxed on an Irish team in England and in New York. The highlight of his amateur career came last year.
"I was invited to go to Slovakia and fight a guy who'd qualified for the Olympics," he says.
"They wanted a tune-up fight for him before Rio. He'd had about 70 fights and only ever lost one. I said I'd fight him but if I won I wanted to take his slot on the Slovakia team. They agreed. I trained hard and did everything right. I beat him."
Belujsky was told to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers. "I came home delighted," he says. "But then I got a call saying, 'No, the other guy will still be going'. He failed a drug test afterwards. So nobody went."
Belujsky has been training in Cork as a professional at super middleweight since November and had his first pro fight in London in March. He thought he'd won but the fight was judged a draw.
Now Belujsky is focused on putting on an explosive performance when he fights at the National Stadium on the Celtic Clash 2 show on May 27.
"Training has been going great," he says. "I'm working on my power shots. And also not to be bouncing around the ring but to sit down on my shots more."
Belujsky received his initial insight into the sport from two older brothers who boxed. His mother's uncle was an Olympian. He also received advice from Cork's former WBO International title holder Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan, who described him to me as "a tough, game, strong, fit man with a fan-friendly, all-action style".
"Spike has been helping me out a lot," says Belujsky.
"He's told me about stuff he does that's worked for him. He's told me that I'm very strong and got me to try a few things. His experience is invaluable."
Vladimir mightn't have to wait long for a title fight. He's already ranked No 1 in Slovakia.
"Even after one draw," he laughs. "It should be straightforward. But the middleweights are always the toughest divisions."