Since retiring in 1999, ‘The Brighton Rock’ has amassed considerable wealth from business ventures down on England’s south coast so his decision to invest heavily in 2013 ABA super-heavyweight finalist Nick Webb merits serious attention.
The 6ft 6in, 18st Chertsey giant debuts against Croatia’s Hrvoje Kisicek over four rounds at the York Hall, Bethnal Green this Friday. BoxNation broadcast live.
Last night boxing writer Glynn Evans caught up with former Southern Area, British and WBO Inter-Continental champ Welch (who turns 47 next month) for the low down on this exciting addition to boxing’s blue riband division.
“During my prime, boxing was less about being a good looking, ‘ripped up’ specimen who could shift a few tickets and more about how well you could fight. Today, there’s too much focus on marketability. There’s a lot of frauds out there who look the ‘Real Deal’ but really ain’t.
‘But I believe Nick Webb is old school. From the first time I came across him about six years ago when he was about 24 stone, my immediate thought was this boy could be a real handful if he can shift some weight.
‘I’ve been around heavyweights like Frank Bruno but Nick’s definitely one of the strongest. He’s a Lennox (Lewis). He’s got legs like (New Zealand rugby star) Jonah Lomu.
‘But boxing’s not just about strength. Nick’s already got a good jab, good reach and good boxing brain but technically, Nick’s still a work in progress.
‘Before I started working with him he was pretty much self-taught. He’d developed that amateur style, hitting bags alongside dozens of other kids at his amateur gym a few evenings a week. He’d had very little one-to-one tuition.
‘I’ve only had him for 15 weeks and it’s gonna take time. We want to do it the hard way. He still needs to tighten up and slow his feet down. I’ve a gym full of heavyweights he can learn against.
‘But Nick’s a fantastic athlete. He can run 200m in 27seconds – faster than I ever could – and he’s constantly improving. Too many young heavyweights are plain lazy but Nick really challenges himself in the gym. Starting out he could only do three pull ups. Now he knocks out 25, no problem. He’s a hungry fighter, willing to listen and learn.
‘In my opinion, there’s a relatively small window of opportunity to get Nick to the top, maybe just three years. Ideally, I’d love him to have 10 fights a year. Seven or eight would still be very good. Let’s just say, I’m quietly excited.”
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