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Anto Upton – “There’s nothing better than fighting back home”

Boxers normally hate inactivity, but not Anto Upton [13(5)-1(0)], at least not this time anyway.

The Belfast light welter has not fought since last July when he sensationally won the English title.

The seven months haven’t been wasted time though, with the youngest of the boxing brothers using the time to train hard and settle into his new surroundings.

These new surroundings are the West Ham Boxing Academy in London, where he now fights under Barry Smith and Harry Andrews having left long-time trainer Ricky Hatton last Summer.

Upton finally returns to the ring tomorrow night [Friday March 3rd] in Belfast, on the inaugural Ginley Promotions bill at the Devenish Complex.

When asked whether his extended ring absence had been frustrating, the 25 year old told Irish-Boxing.com that “I’ve been out for quite a while but it hasn’t been stressful. I’ve been getting getting used to my new surroundings, so no, I wouldn’t say it’s been frustrating.”

“I’m more explosive now and have more variety in my punches. I think my style won’t have changed but I don’t know, we’ll have to see after [the fight] if there’s a difference.”

It’s a return to the ring, but it’s also a return to Belfast for Upton, who has fought just once in his home city, way back in March 2014 when he became one of the few to stop Alec Bazza.

“It’s great to be back in Belfast,” he said. “Fighting in front of my family and friends that don’t have the money to fly to see me in England. I hope it does become a regular thing. There’s nothing better than fighting back home. The fans are some of the best boxing fans in the world.”

Upton’s opponent tomorrow night will be Latvian welter Zaurs Sadihovs [4(4)-14(4)], and the Baltic boxer is familiar to the fighting family man, with Anto recalling how “I saw him fight my brother Paul last year sometime. I don’t know a lot about him, he’s just a tough guy. No predictions, I’ll just get in and get the job done.”

Also featuring on the first Ginley Promotions card are Alfredo Meli, Ciaran McVarnock, Sean Turner, Stephen Ormond, Ian Tims, and Tyrone McCullagh.

Tickets for Dust Up at The Devenish cost £35 (unreserved) and £65 (ringside) and are available from the boxers on the bill or promoter Mark Ginley.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie