Hatton Protege Anto Upton Focused on Winning English Title

Ricky Hatton’s top prospect Anto Upton (12-1) is ready to right a wrong when he steps into the ring on Sunday 24th July to face West Midland’s Luke Paddock (14-1) for the vacant English super-lightweight at Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock.

The youngest of the Upton Clan, which includes brothers Sonny (11-2), 27, and Paul (12-0), 28, Anto is the one tipped for glory by both his siblings and trainer Ricky Hatton.

Having lost out on to the former titleholder Joe Hughes (13-1) in December last year, Anto is more determined than ever to win his first belt in the paid ranks this weekend on the Hatton Promotions’ and Black Country Boxing’s packed ‘Danger Zone’ event.

Boxing News & Views spoke exclusively to 24-year-old Anto Upton ahead of his second attempt at the English championship.

How well has your training camp gone?

“Everything’s gone great, it’s gone exactly how I wanted it to go. It’s been a long hard camp but sparring has gone great and I’m injury free.”

Will we see anything different from you in this fight?

“I’m not giving anything away, not giving any hints but it’ll be my best performance to date, I reckon; and he’ll bring the best out in me.”

How have you prepared for Paddock, do you study your opponents?

“Not really, obviously, everyone he has fought up to now has not been like me, I’m a totally different fighter to anyone he’s fought before. When I first found out I was fighting him, I had a little look and that was it; I focus on what I’m gonna’ be doing.”

Upton on the pads with Ricky Hatton (Credit: HattonTV)

You have been in an English title fight before, does that give you an edge over Paddock?

“He’s been in Midlands Area title fights which are ten-rounder’s, so he’s had that experience already. Obviously the English is better than an Area title but it’s not different because he’s had the experience of a 10-rounder and it all comes down to who’s the better man on the day.

Everyone has said that I’ve made weight better than ever this time and that I have trained the hardest ever. I’m on my weight right now so I know I can go home and have something to eat and still be ok for the weigh-in.”

Your only loss to Joe Hughes must have been hard to take, have you put those demons to bed?

“After that fight I was a bit heartbroken, obviously, it was my first loss. You just soldier on, don’t ya. I’ve had another fight since then and won comfortably, so I got in there with another win straight away.

You have to put it behind you and move on, if you carry that loss into any fight then you’re already defeated; you’ve got to be thinking positive. I just can’t wait to fight, I’m more than ready!

The Hatton gym is brimming with young talent at the moment, what’s it like to train in there?

“Yeah it’s great. There’s Reuben Arrowsmith, Sam Evans and my brother Sonny all fighting on the same show on Sunday.

Everyone’s buzzing, we’re all bouncing off each other all the time, we train hard and have a good crack; there’s such a good atmosphere and it’s what you need in the gym.”

You’re known for bringing big support to fights, how many will be in the crowd this Sunday?

“I haven’t really concentrated on tickets a lot this time, there’ll be a few there still and they’ll still be as noisy. All my family will be there, that’s the main thing I care about.

I’d just like to say thanks to everyone that bought tickets and thanks to all that’s helped me. Also thanks to anyone that’s tried making it but can’t, I just generally hope that everyone has a good afternoon.

Thanks to my sponsors and management team.”

(Image supplied by author of article Tim Rickson)

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