Always in control against the normally durable Martin Gethin at Blackpool’s Hilton Hotel on 17 September, the manner of Little’s victory was as conclusive as it was concussive – a powerful right to the body folding the former British champion from Walsall in half early in the third round. Before then, Little was dominant, his speed and power proving too much for a man who had previously only lost to some of the biggest names in and around the 10st division; Terry Flanagan, Derry Mathews and Tommy Coyle to name but a few.
A performance to savour, it left Little’s trainer, Alan Levene, in no doubt that his charge is ready to box for both domestic and international honours. Levene said: “We felt for a long time, even when he was fighting at welter[weight], that Adam would be a decent super-lightweight, with the power to challenge some of the top names. It was just a case of being patient, losing the weight sensibly – without losing his power. He trained really well for this fight, probably one of the best camps we’ve ever had, and he performed really well in spars with Kiryl Relikh – the Belarussian who will fight Ricky Burns for the WBA world title next week. It all paid off in the end.”
A great training camp can only get a fighter so far however – he still has to perform on the night – but here Levene is as equally effusive about Little’s skill and dedication in the fight as he was about his preparation for it. “After the first round I asked him how it was going and he said he was feeling really good and he could potentially finish it earlier than we thought,” said Levene.
“Before the fight we were looking at a late stoppage, maybe even a points win, but Adam was pretty sure he could get Martin out of there earlier. We let him get on with it, told him to be careful because Martin is still a dangerous fighter, but he boxed really well to get the opening for the final shot – it was a great one and would have put anyone down. Adam is ready for those titles now.”
The win pushed Little up into the top 10 rankings domestically and, with many of those above him contracted for other belts and opportunities in the coming months themselves, the fights the likeable Little wants could happen sooner rather than later. With manager Neil Marsh working hard to secure them, everything seems to be going his way at the moment.
Little said: “It was a really good win [over Gethin] and I felt really strong. I’ve been working hard with Alan in training and Dr George Wilson – a sports scientist – at Liverpool John Moore’s University to make sure I lose the weight I need to lose sensibly while at the same time keeping my power. I feel I’m strong enough and punch hard enough to challenge anyone now. I’ll leave all the negotiations to Neil and I’m confident they [title fights] will come.”
Marsh added: “Adam’s win over Martin was a great performance and an eliminator for the Commonwealth title. It’s an exciting time for him. There are a lot of decent fights to be made for him at super-lightweight and I’ll be working hard to push him on to the next level and the bigger title fights we want. ”