Nathan ‘Thunder’ Thorley has mapped out his route to the British cruiserweight championship – starting with a clash against an unbeaten “tough nut” in Cardiff next month.
Thorley has won all 14 after a good amateur career that peaked with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 4 and under new manager Mo Prior, he’s looking to break through this year.
The biggest year of his pro career starts with a fight against Coner Cooke in his home city on Saturday, March 14.
Cooke has won all three since making the switch from MMA – and Thorley plans to hand him a boxing lesson.
“I’ve watched him in BAMMA and he’s going to be a tough nut,” said the 26 year old. “He’s Irish as well – and they are all tough.
“He is 34 and is looking to jump the queue. I don’t think that’s going to happen. He’s been saying he’s going to give it to me , but he’s made a mistake fighting me. He’s a good MMA fighter, but this is a different sport.”
Thorley grew up with boxing, first going to the gym at the age of nine and being taught the basics at the Tigers Bay ABC gym by former British welterweight and super-welterweight champion Pat Thomas.
“I still see Pat every now and then,” said Thorley, “and he always stops me to give me some advice.”
Thorley learned by experience that at 6ft 4ins, he was too big to be a light-heavyweight. He won Welsh honours at 12st 7lbs before admitting defeat in his battle with the scales and has drawn up a hitlist of possible opponents that should lead him to British champion Richard Riakporhe.
He said: “There are a few names out there I want to start picking off.
“There’s people like (Southern Area champion) Nick Parpa, Daniel Mendes and Mikael Lawal is powerful, but he can be outboxed.”
Thorley sees those fights as stepping stones to the British title, won by Riakporhe with a points win over Jack Massey last December.
“I thought Jack Massey beat Riakporhe and I thought Chris Billam-Smith beat him as well. But he’s a big guy – and powerful.”
Thornley says he can jab his way to the top.
“I think I have the ability to go all the way,” he said. “My jab is my best weapon – when I use it. I can get dragged into fights sometimes.
“As an amateur, I fought the best in the world and held my own with them. Now I want to push on and test myself in the pros. It’s been a bit irritating fighting journeymen.
“I went from fighting the best in the world as an amateur to fighting lads with records like 10-100 in the pros and you think: ‘What’s the point ?’ It can be hard to get up for fights like that. I want to move on and take on the big boys.”