Irish light middleweight champion Pauly Upton [12(2)-0] may have only fought once in 2016, but it will be a year that sticks out in the memory for him.
The eldest of the three boxing brothers claimed the Irish title last April with a pain barrier-smashing stoppage win over second time challenger Terry Maughan. Upton had injured his foot early in the bout, but battled through to halt the clash in the sixth.
Out of action since, Upton is hoping that 2017 brings more activity, and more title fights.
The 28 year old told Irish-Boxing.com that “2016 had its ups and downs. I won my first title and to become Irish champ is something I’m very proud of. But, I got injured and we split with our trainer and promoter so I didn’t get out as much as I would have wished for.”
As he mentioned, Upton, along with his brothers Anto and Sonny, left Ricky Hatton duing the Summer and linked up with Barry Smith and Harry Matthews in London. It is a switch which suits Upton, whose young family lives in the English capital. He described how “training is going great with Barry and Harry. I knew both before I went to Manchester and done a couple sessions with Barry so I knew what to expect. I’m happier back in London with my family, fiancée, and daughter. I have few things I want to work on this year, one thing is working on my strength some more with our new strength and conditioning coach Liam Price.”
Between injury and readjustment, Upton has not fought since his dramatic win over Maughan. Looking ahead, he is targeting one warm-up bout before moving back into title fights – and he is not ruling out a defence of his green belt. The MGM fighter revealed that “my first fight of 2017 should be announced soon, I’m looking at March time and will probably be a warm-up fight to ease back into things as I have been out for 11 months by the time it comes. After that I hope to keep busy and either defend or move on to bigger titles.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show