Thomas Speirs had been wanting to make this move for more than a year.
The wait was frustrating, and it finally came to an end earlier this week.
On Tuesday, the 22-year-old Speirs announced he is stepping away from amateur boxing so he can pursue a career as a professional.
"It was hard getting fights in the amateurs -- people pulling out and stuff -- and you get money when you're in the pros," said Speirs, who fights under the banner of the Spruce Capital Boxing Club. "And we were going to wait for another nationals but they weren't going to happen [until 2014] so I'm not going to wait around."
At the 2012 senior amateur nationals in Nova Scotia, Speirs battled to a silver medal in the 178-pound division. At the tournament, he posted a 3-1 record, his only loss to Quebec's Jonathan Savard in the match for gold. Savard entered nationals as the defending champion.
Even before those nationals, held in January, Speirs was having trouble finding opponents and the situation worsened after he punched his way to silver. In fact, he hasn't had a real fight since March.
Speirs, recently named Boxing B.C.'s top senior athlete for 2012, had a 34-7 record as an amateur and can't wait to test his skills at the next level.
"I've been training since September, working on the stuff that you need to do for pros, and I'm pretty ready," he said.
One of the differences between amateur and professional boxing is the absence of protective head gear at the pro level. The idea of going without head gear doesn't concern Speirs in the least.
"I've sparred a lot without head gear," he said. "It's a little different when you're getting hit without the head gear and you're getting hit in the side of the head and stuff. You're a lot more sore, but you try not to get hit, right?"
As well, Speirs will now step into the ring knowing that the computer scoring system associated with amateur boxing will be out the window. That being the case, he'll have to adopt a new mindset when he fights.
"[In amateur], it was more 'punch as much as you can' and now it's more 'catch him on his mistakes and hurt him,'" said Speirs, who has the ability to brawl or box, depending on the situation. "It's not about who gets the most points, it's about who hits the other guy harder."
In all likelihood, Speirs's first pro fight will happen March 2 at the Prince George Roll-A-Dome. Wayne Sponagle, his coach at the Spruce Capital club, is assembling a fight card for that night and is confident he'll have an opponent lined up for Speirs.
"I'm working on three different guys," Sponagle said. "Right now, it looks like I'm going to have to bring a boxer all the way from Nova Scotia. My pro contact in Halifax is working on a guy."
The fight card must be approved by the Prince George Athletic Commission. Sponagle said he already has the "initial blessings" of the commission.
Sponagle, of course, is excited that Speirs is turning pro.
"It's totally his decision and I support him 100 per cent," Sponagle said. "On the bad side of it, I honestly feel that Thomas had the potential and the ability to make it to the 2016 Olympics.
"Thomas loves pro boxing," Sponagle added. "His goal is to fight for a world championship."
According to Sponagle, Speirs is the first Prince George boxer to turn pro since Alex Alvarez did it in 1997.
To start his pro career, Speirs said he hopes to have 10 fights in Western Canada. After that, he'd like to head east and then maybe down into the United States.