Former English super-lightweight champion Anthony Upton (13-1) is back in the ring for the first time in over seven months tonight (March 3rd) at the Devenish Complex in Belfast on an MTK Promotions show.
The youngest of the Upton Clan, which includes brothers Sonny, 27, and Pauly, 28, will take part in a six three-minute rounds contest against hard-hitting Latvian Zaurs Sadihovs (4-14).
The 23-year-old from the windy city of Liepaja has only recorded four wins from 18 professional bouts, however, that quartet of victories all came within the first round and, even more remarkably, three were within the first minute with the other coming just over the minute mark, averaging just 38 seconds per knockout.
The super-welterweight’s last five fights were all defeats at the hands of unbeaten British boxers. His life as a journeyman has seen him compete in seven different countries and the imminent clash with Upton in Northern Ireland will bring that number up to eight, having never fought there before.
Anto commented on his opponent, “My brother Paul has fought him before and Sam Evans, also, who I used to train with in Manchester.
“I haven’t looked him up or asked my brother for advice, they’ll all be in my training room on the night and they’ll be giving me advice and little tips and stuff.”
All three brothers have a strong connection to the Emerald Isle having lived and fought there throughout most of their amateur careers. Anto won over a dozen Irish amateur titles and older brother Pauly is the Irish super-welterweight champion.
“The show is just around the corner from my house in the Devenish Complex, so I can’t wait to get back in there,” he enthused.
“Training has gone well, all my spars during camp went well because I had top class lads in the gym with me.”
The 25-year-old’s last outing was over seven months ago when he claimed the vacant English super-lightweight championship with a stunning ninth-round KO over Luke Paddock (15-2) in Cannock, shortly before splitting with former trainer Ricky Hatton, and relocating back to Romford with his brothers.
“It’s been seven months now since my last fight in July,” said Anto, a father-of-one. “Someone asked me the other day about how the time out has been, whether it’s made me frustrated or angry, but it’s just flown by, to be honest.
“During that time, I’ve relocated back to Essex and been getting used to my new surroundings and new team, but I don’t mind that’s it been seven months, so I’m ready.”
Since splitting with Hatton, Anto and brothers are now under the tutelage of top trainer Barry Smith in his West Ham Gym, alongside retired boxer Tommy Martin.
“I’m looking forward to having Barry [Smith] in the corner for the first time and also Tommy [Martin]; we were sparring partners when he first turned pro so it’ll be good to have him in the corner with me.”
Anto hinted at what his new team’s influence could bring on fight night, “I’ve always been a cautious fighter and my style will always stay the same but maybe I’ll let my hands go a bit more in this fight.”
The March 3rd show will be co-promoted by MTK and Ginley Promotions, headed by former professional boxer Mark Ginley from Belfast.
Also appearing on the bill is unbeaten 26-year-old southpaw Alfredo Meli (12-0-1); former WBO European lightweight champion Steven Ormond (23-3); unbeaten southpaw Tyrone McCullagh (5-0) from Derry; 24-year-old lightweight Ciaran McVarnock (6-0-1); plus heavyweight action from ‘Big Sexy’ Sean Turner (9-0).
For tickets to the show, please contact 07951 318 081