Former amateur star Ryan Garner has turned professional after signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren.

The 18-year-old from Southampton is being trained by Wayne Batten and gearing up for a first pro fight later this year.

Garner, much decorated as an amateur under the guidance of Southampton ABC, has made a big leap at a young age, but has the backing to handle it.

Batten said: “We had a meeting with Frank Warren after Ryan made the decision he wanted to sign with him, and Frank made it quite clear what he expects from him.

“I have to say that Ryan’s reaction to that has been fantastic.

“A lot of people say that 18 is very young to become a professional, and I have been saying to Ryan that he has to be mature and responsible.

“This is now his job, his livelihood, and he has to live the life if he wants to be a champion.”

Batten certainly sees plenty of potential in Garner, as does Warren, who beat off competition from other interested promoters to secure his signature.

“Ryan does some things so naturally that you just can’t teach,” reflected Batten.

“He just has that sort of boxing brain and it is special and exciting.

“He needs to use his age to his advantage and as long as we do things in the right way and in the right manner it can be a positive.

“He of course has to grow up quickly because of the business he is in but he has been around these big shows, seen the belts, been in the changing rooms before and after fights and he really wants it. He would box tomorrow if he could.

“You only get out what you put in, so he has to play his part, but from what I’ve seen, and also comments from other people in boxing who I greatly respect, Ryan has the potential to get to the very top. He can be that good.”