PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The son of a world champion boxer is about to make his professional boxing debut this weekend.

Combat sports are in the blood of Gary Balletto III who grew up in the gym watching his father prepare for his fights. His father would end up winning 3 lightweight titles.

At 21, Balletto III started a career as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Now at 24, he’s moving from the cage to the ring for his professional boxing debut.

With his dad in a wheelchair from a backyard accident six years ago, Gary Balletto said he knows how talented his son is but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

“It’s very nerve wracking to watch my son fight,” Balletto said. “I always kept him away from boxing since he was a little boy. I never said I don’t want you doing it but I never encouraged him to do it.”

When Balletto III was young, he told his father that he wanted to be a boxer. Balletto said he didn’t believe him at the time.

Balletto pointed out that a lot of father-son boxing relationships don’t work out and he keeps that in mind by not pushing his son too hard, only giving pointers when he sees fit.

In addition to listening to his father’s advice, Balletto III learns from watching his dad’s old boxing videos.

“It’s so funny to look back to see so much of where it all started,” Balletto III said. “So much of myself and what inspired me as a kid to want to do this.”

Balletto III will make his pro debut in a four-round fight on Saturday night at Twin River in Lincoln.