Irish light middleweight champion Pauly Upton [12(2)-0] returns from a long absence this weekend, and the eldest of the boxing brothers is keen to finally fight at home in Ireland afterwards.
All twelve of Upton’s professional contests have taken place in England, but he believes that 2017 will finally be the year he fights back in Ireland.
The reigning green belt holder at 154lbs has not fought since winning the strap against Terry Maughan in Northampton back last April – with a foot injury sustained during the fight and a subsequent change of trainers leaving him on the sidelines.
Upton finally fights again on Friday at the Brentwood Centre in Essex on the inaugural MTK London card.
The eleven month ring hiatus has been no issue for Upton, who has a close-knit support group. He told Irish-Boxing.com that “I’ve been out a long while now, but it’s been easy to stay focused being around my brothers and the great talent in the gym.”
It’s a first fight or Upton under new trainers Harry Andrews and Barry Smith, whom he and his brothers linked up with following their departure from Ricky Hatton. The 28 year old scrapper notes that a more aggressive style has been moulded in the months behind closed doors.
Upton explained that “I hope to be a stronger, more aggressive fighter this time round. It’s my first fight with the two new trainers and I’m looking forward to it.”
I’ve been working on new things with both trainers. All trainers have different styles so you never stop learning in boxing.”
Friday’s fight is a six-round rust-shaker of a bout, with an opponent still to be confirmed. Afterwards though, Upton is planning to move quickly, and is hopeful of a homecoming fight.
He outlined that “I’ve had a few different opponents and pull-outs, so I’m just waiting on another fighter, most probably a tough journeyman to get the rounds in and do the business.”
“Plans this year are to win this fight and then take whatever comes title-wise. Time to step it up after this six rounder.”
“It was great to be back in Ireland for [brother] Anto’s fight [in Belfast on March 3rd] and I hope to fight back there sometime this year, if not a few times.”
While he is not looking past his comeback bout, Pauly is keen to look ahead to March 24th and his younger brother’s English title fight with Matthew Ryan. Pauly concluded by noting that “when Sonny wins his title the following week I think it might be a bit of history. Two brothers at light middleweight, Irish and English champion at same time.”
Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show: