Anthony Upton talks exclusively to BNAV ahead of March 3rd fight about preparations, what fight day is like for him and much more.
Former English champion Anto Upton (13-1) fights for the first time in over seven months this Friday night in Belfast against heavy-handed Latvian Zaurs Sadihovs (4-14).
The youngest of the Upton Clan, which includes brothers Sonny, 27, and Paul, 28, enters into his 15th paid contest at the Devenish Complex in Northern Ireland with his new team in the corner, consisting of trainers Barry Smith and retired boxer Tommy Martin.
Boxing News & Views spoke exclusively to the 25-year-old talent ahead of his first fight of the year.
How has your training camp gone?
“It’s all gone well. I finished off sparring a week ago, all my spars during camp went well; I had top class lads in the gym with me.
I’ve been working with my strength and conditioning coach Liam Price and I’m feeling strong and fit.”
Your last fight was back in July last year, has the time out affected you in any way?
“It’s been seven months now since my last fight in July and 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.
There was a lot to do in that time; I had some time off, then there was Christmas and I went away to New York, but I don’t mind that it has been seven months. I’m ready.”
Will we see anything different from you in this fight?
“When I came to my new trainer Barry Smith, he asked me what I want to work on and I said I want to let my hands go more because I’m a cautious fighter.
So maybe there’ll be more punches in bunches from me, my style will always stay the same so maybe I’ll let my hands go a bit more.”
Who makes up your team for this fight?
“Me, Barry Smith, Tommy Martin, brothers Sonny and Paul, and my dad and uncle.
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.”
Talk us through fight day?
“Wake up, just another normal day, for me; I’ll have some food and water, then just chill out and don’t do fuck all!
Relax, go to weigh in, then refuel and hydrate. I’m not dehydrated anyway because I can drink water still but then I’ll go out that night and take someone’s head off!”
(Upton on the pads before with Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton)
Your opponent is Zaurs Sadihovs?
“My brother Paul has fought him before and Sam Evans, who I used to train with in Manchester.
I haven’t looked at him or asked my brother for advice, there’ll all be in my training room on the night and they’ll be giving me advice and little tips and stuff. Obviously, I listen to my trainers but my brothers will be there with me and you will not find a closer bond between any other brothers, we are always there together.
When you fight, you hear your trainer more than anyone else and the roar of the crowd becomes like a blur but I can still pick my brothers’ voices out from the crowd from a mile off.”
You’re known for bringing big support to fights, how many will be in the crowd this Friday?
“I left the ticket sales to a friend of mine to sort out. I got given 100 and hopefully they’re all gone but whatever number is there in the crowd that night, there’ll be loud anyway.
My boy Kyle will be there, he’s in the crowd for every one. I’ve always let him watch me train and mess about on the bags but a couple of weeks back I saw him shaping up to throw shots so I went over and straightened him up in the right stance and couldn’t believe how well he’s picked it up! He’s got some power in his shots!”