2016 will be a huge year for Kirkham welterweight, Adam Little. So says his trainer, former top amateur and ex-professional, Alan Levene and his manager, Neil Marsh.
Whether it comes in the ultra-competitive 147lbs division is another thing however, as the 24-year old may well move down a division following some ground-breaking nutritional advice from Dr George Wilson, a renowned sports scientist at Liverpool John Moores University.
Little, who turned pro with Ricky Hatton in 2011, is undefeated in 15 contests and last year added the English title to the Central Area crown he won in 2014. His first defence of the former belt came at Blackpool in December – an eighth round TKO win over tough Stourbridge battler, Steven Pearce – and it was this victory that convinced Levene that his charge was ready to make an impact in 2016.
He said: “Adams a fantastic trainer, he really is, but although his preparation was great I’d had some bad news just a week or so before the Pearce fight and I could see it affected him a bit. I was a pro myself and fighters aren’t robots. Sometimes things outside the ring can impact on you. We’re all human after all, but Adam was brilliant. He really focussed. He executed our game plan perfectly and stopped a really good fighter. I couldn’t have asked anymore of him.”
As far from the flamboyant, outspoken boxer so beloved of some media and fans, the quietly spoken Little certainly impressed on a night that was also appreciated by his former manager.
Little said: “Alan said to me in the dressing room before the fight, ‘We’ve had a bad few weeks here Adam, let’s get out there and make a statement,’ and I think I did. I worked hard, wore Pearce down, did exactly what Alan said and, when the time was right, I stepped up the pace and stopped a tough, tough kid. Ricky [Hatton] was in the crowd and we spoke to him afterwards. He told us that the performance was a reminder of why he had signed me in the first place, which was nice to hear and good of him to say.”
Now managed by Neil Marsh, Little has been under the supervision of Dr George Wilson at Liverpool John Moores University for the best part of a year as he reduces weight in a monitored way and, in his next contest in Liverpool in March, will be looking at taking the step down to super-lightweight.
Marsh said: “As well as knowing Adam had great potential, and the win over Pearce certainly confirmed that, we always thought he would be best suited at super-lightweight but you can’t just lose the weight overnight. Just as we have to take our time with his career, we also have to take our time when it comes to dropping down a divison and that’s why we’ve done it properly, working with George [Wilson] to make sure Adam doesn’t lose any power and he certainly hasn’t. He’s ready to make 2016 his year.”
Little will face Sheffield’s Sam Matkin on a dinner show at Liverpool’s Devonshire House Hotel on Saturday 5 March. Local prospect Robbie Davies Jnr meets Finland’s Jarrko Putkonen for the vacant WBA Continental super-lightweight belt on the same card whilst heavyweight Bill Hodgson also features.
Tickets at £60 and £100 (VIP) available from @adamlittle12 07585 771305 and @alanlevene