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Boiko Set For Baptism Of Fire

Boiko in action at the Shoot Out.

By Hector Nunns

Iulian Boiko insists he is not daunted by a baptism of fire after becoming snooker’s youngest professional.

Ukrainian wonder-kid Boiko, who turns 15 tomorrow [Tue], must take on world No1 Judd Trump in the BetVictor European Masters this evening in Milton Keynes.

And for his second tournament on the tour next month the teenager faces six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the BetVictor Championship League group stage.

A brilliant run to the final of this year’s WSF Open where he averaged just 16 seconds per shot was enough to clinch Boiko a spot on the circuit.

And he admits that even a frame against Trump, 31, would give him an early birthday present to remember.

Boiko said: “It was incredible and very exciting to see that in my first event I would be playing Judd Trump, I will always remember it whatever happens.

“Against him and then Ronnie O’Sullivan in the next one, I hope to make them work a bit and give them a game at the very least.

“It might seem almost an impossible task for someone like me to beat them – but all you can do is try your best and hope things go your way.

“And I will learn a lot, it will be invaluable experience being at the same table as players as good as that – an amazing opportunity.

“Right now it seems impossible that I could beat the world No1 in my first ever match as a professional, but it’s best not to think like that. We’ll see tomorrow!

“I think maybe it’s about the hardest two draws I could have had at the beginning of my career, Judd this week and then Ronnie in my group next month.

“But I will be celebrating my 15th birthday on Tuesday whatever happens, I am not scared or frightened but you have to be respectful of players this good.

“I think if I got one frame off Judd on Monday night I would consider that a pretty good early birthday present.

“Of course I am very pleased to have made it on the tour this season. I am really looking forward to the experience, and I have been practising really hard.

“I am not very well known in Ukraine, and over the season I hope that snooker is on TV more and I can help the game grow there.”