Anthony Upton (13-1) has vacated his English super-lightweight title ahead of his proposed mandatory defence against former conqueror Joe Hughes (14-2).
The British Boxing Board of Control had ordered the defence to take place in December after promoter Stuart Davies won the purse bids last month, but Upton’s recent relocation back to Essex and subsequent change in team meant there was not enough time to prepare for the championship contest.
“I was told I had to defend my title by December,” said the 24-year-old. “It was either defend it or vacate it but I want to have a least two warm-up fights with my new trainer Barry Smith in the corner first.
“My manager advised me to have two fights with Barry in the corner and to vacate the title and to aim for something bigger next year.”
Anto, along with brothers Sonny, 27, and Pauly, 28, recently moved back to Essex after breaking ties with former trainer Ricky Hatton.
The trio have since settled in at the West Ham Gym under the tutelage of new trainer Barry Smith, who guided Tommy Martin into the boxing history books as the youngest ever English champion.
Their inauguration as a team will start on Fireworks Night at York Hall in a six-rounder with opponent yet to be confirmed.
The 140-pounder said, “This will be a warm up fight on November 5th as it’s the first one with Barry in my corner.
“Everything’s going well and we are gelling as a team. I am working with a new nutritionist called Liam Price, who also does my strength and conditioning, so it’s all new people to get used to but it’s going well and I’m settled with my new team.”
The three siblings collectively known as The Upton Clan are all managed by Spanish-based management team MGM.
“MGM are my managers, so it’s pointless having them there if I didn’t listen to them. The same advice also came from Barry, too.
“I went to MGM after my first loss and now I’m English champion, so I trust them with my life. This is my livelihood, so you have to have that trust that they make the right decisions for you.
“I know I’m in good hands, I’m happy with my team; I’ve got a small circle and that’s how I like to keep it.”
Anto won the English Championship on his second attempt, having previously lost out on points to the former titleholder Joe Hughes in December last year.
Former conqueror Hughes then vacated the English honours to challenge Jack Catterall for his WBO Inter-Continental super-lightweight title last May, losing out on points.
Second time around, Anto defeated West Midland’s Luke Paddock (14-2) with a stunning one-punch KO finish in the penultimate round at Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock in July.
“Obviously fighting Joe Hughes is something that I want to do to even the score but, at the same time, I’ve got to think about what’s sensible,” explained Anto.
“No disrespect to Joe because he’s a great fighter and the better man won that night but I know I can beat him.”
Three months on from the victory and the English titlist has boldly decided to vacate the honours to allow others to contest for the championship, he said, “Yeah it is disappointing to have to give the title back because I worked so hard to get it. If I had more time to prepare then I would have defended it but I want to get these two fights out of the way then go for something bigger and if it’s against Joe Hughes down the line, then great!”
Anto is slated to fight next on November 5th at York Hall in Bethnal Green on a Hellraiser Promotions show titled ‘East End Explosion’.
“Right now I’m fully focused on the next fight on November 5th, this will be a six-rounder, then I’ll have an eight-rounder in December, then I plan to hit it hard next year.”
For tickets to the show, please contact 07951 318 081
Follow Anto Upton on Twitter @AntouptonJR