While he may have only fought twice in 2016, it was a big year for Anto Upton [13(5)-1(0)].
The Belfast light welter bounced back from his first career loss to claim the English title with a stunning stoppage of Luke Paddock on away turf. Upton and his brothers, Sonny and Pauly, then ended their long-standing association with Ricky Hatton and joined up with London trainers Barry Smith and Harry Andrews.
The English belt was reluctantly relinquished as Upton sought to adjust to the new men in his corner and, following a couple of cancelled dates to close out the year, he is now raring to go.
25 next weekend, Upton is content with his standing in the sport at this moment in time. Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com, he reflected on how “2016 went smoothly. I didn’t have as much fights as I’d have liked to in the year, but I won myself the English title so I can’t complain. Now everything is going as good as it can go with my new trainers Barry Smith and Harry Andrews, two great trainers with a lot of experience between them and both as hungry as the fighters they train.”
Going forward, Upton is looking for a return to sharpness, and to keep it that way, before challenging for further titles. The youngest boxing brother described how “the plan is to get back in there, have plenty of fights, and win at least one – if not more – titles by the end of 2017. In my first year I had seven fights – staying fit and in the gym is key, and that’s my plan. The only thing I’m looking to improve on will be staying active and fighting more often.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show