ANTHONY NELSON HOPING TO GRAB HEADLINE OPPORTUNITY WITH BOTH HANDS

By Nathan Orr [Twitter: @nathan_orr13]

A feature which looks back at Anthony Nelson’s English title triumph last year.

As the idiom goes, ‘one man’s loss is another man’s gain’ and with Bradley Saunders withdrawing due to tearing ligaments in his right hand, Anthony Nelson (9-0, 1 KO) has been promoted to one of the headline fights in Newcastle on 4 April.

Nelson, 29, won the English title in his hometown of South Shields back in October and is looking to add to his growing collection of belts when he faces Jamie Wilson (5-0, 1 KO), at the Metro Radio Arena for the Commonwealth title.

The South Shields’ boxer, who fights at super-flyweight, realises that the chance to feature on a stacked bill, shown on Sky Sports, doesn’t come around often and claims that he is more than ready to grab the opportunity with both hands.

“I’m disappointed for Bradley, I would have liked him to win a title on the bill. But its opened up an opportunity for me to step in and fill that place, and I know that I’m more than capable of putting on a good show,” said Nelson.

Before turning over to the professional ranks, Nelson had little over 30 amateur fights, but that hasn’t stopped him rapidly rising up the super-flyweight rankings, where he has picked up two domestic titles within two years.

In his last outing, where he came past Terry Broadbent to lift the English title, Nelson confesses that his preparation was far from ideal, where he was bed-bound for a week due to illness as well as suffering from a back injury.

However, this time around, ahead of arguably the biggest fight of his professional career, the 29-year old is talking a confident game.

“This training camp has been faultless and I am getting the chance to fight on a massive show, in my back yard for the Commonwealth title.

“I’m going into the fight knowing that I’ve done all the hard work, all the sparring and there are no injuries or illnesses. I will be stepping into the ring knowing that I can put everything together that we have worked on in the gym.”

Hoping to upset Nelson, and halt the 19 fight unbeaten streak that fighters from Mal Gates’ gym hold, is Dundee’s Jamie Wilson. The Scotsman holds an unbeaten professional record and had a contrasting amateur career to that of Nelson’s – where he lifted Scotland’s novice championships and reached the semi-finals of the Scottish ABAs.

While “Babyface” is focused on the task ahead, he admits that a victory on Saturday would edge the headline fights in the division ever closer.

“The big fights are what we are in the game for.

“The likes of Kal Yafai, Jamie Conlan and Paul Butler are all above me in the rankings, and in order to climb above them I need to fight them.

“Don’t get me wrong, Yafai and Butler are top class amateurs but I won’t avoid anyone in the division, and if those match-ups become available then I am more than ready to step-up.”

Nelson’s Commonwealth title challenge joins a massive night of boxing for the north east as Jon-Lewis Dickinson challenges Stephen Simmons for the WBC International Silver Cruiserweight title.

Not to forget the arrival of London 2012 gold medalist Anthony Joshua, who features against American Jason Gavern following a five-month layoff.

A host of local talent also features further down the undercard, which includes Prizefighter champion Travis Dickinson, along with the likes of Jeff Saunders, Jordan King, Simon Vallily and Lewis Ritson.

Tickets are on sale now and are priced at £40, £60 and £100 from the Metro Radio Arena at www.metroradioarena.co.uk and on 0844 493 6666