The fight of the night, the fight of the weekend, and what is sure to be one of the Irish fights of the year, was Tony Nellins v Ross Jameson.
The instant small hall classic took place at the Shorts Sports and Social Centre in East Belfast on Saturday night, with home favourite Nellins being held to a 39:39 four-round draw by the Middlesborough scrapper.
The bout was a war from the first bell to the last, and the noise generated by the fans in the atmospheric venue was something else.
So often when a prospect is held to a draw early on in their career it is a cause for despair and disappointment, normally as the over-eager youngster having been out-hustled by a crafty journeyman. It was a completely different story on Saturday. Jameson had come to win, and while his 1(0)-7(0)-1 record looks unimpressive, he is a slugger with no reverse gear.
Nellins [3(0)-0-1] matched the Englishman with some blood and thunder of his own, trading punches throughout, and the reading of the final result drew applause and cheers following a bout that neither deserved to lose and one which warranted huge praise for both.
In the aftermath of the clash, Nellins told Irish-Boxing.com that “I wouldn’t say I felt bad, but anything that’s not a win isn’t good enough for me.”
Refreshingly, the Ulsterman is keen to jump straight back in with the dangerous and game journeyman. He outlined that “the only thing I can do, what I want to do, is avenge the draw. I want to fight again and get by him, get the win.”
“I said to him ‘what do you think about getting another one on the go?’ and he said ‘yes, not a problem.'”
“The crowd, you heard the crowd for my fight and you heard the crowd for the rest of the fights. I’ve got the support and they’ll all come with me. If there’s not a rematch in the next fight, it can be the one after, but I definitely want to fight him again and get that W rather than the D.”
Nellins was pleased that he did not wilt in the high-tempo scrap, and noted how “I thought in the fourth I got a second wind and I came back. The third I maybe was feeling it a wee bit, but if it had of gone on to the fifth and the sixth I would have had him.”
“But there’s no point in saying that, if my granny had balls she’d be my grandad, simple as that.”
Jameson was a hugely impressive foe – and one who we’d like to see face other Irish 140 and 147lb prospects. Just one of his losses have come by points shutout, which is always a good indicator that he comes to fight, and Nellins explained that “that fella there, he is no mug, his record says nothing about him, it does him no justice.”
“He’s been in with the likes of Conor Benn – and he gave Conor Benn as good as anybody has ever given him. He beat Kid Galahad in the amateurs, he was an English champion.”
“I’m not going to be put in against people who are going to roll over. I told Alio [Wilton, trainer and manager] that everyone who is sharing the ring with me I want to be coming for the win, not journeymen who roll over.”