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Upton Barks: I’m buzzing for Belfast return

PUBLISHED: 17:30 03 February 2017

Anto Upton in action in one of his earlier fights (pic Nicky Nunn)

Anto Upton in action in one of his earlier fights (pic Nicky Nunn)

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Anto Upton talks boxing in our new column

I’ve just started sparring in my training camp for my next fight on March 3 in Belfast.

I don’t spar all the way through, only when it gets to around four to five weeks out.

Today, I went a few rounds with Bradley Smith and Nathan Weise in the West Ham gym.

I’ve also got Michael Grant, Philip Bowes, and Larry Ekundayo available, it’s world-class sparring in your own gym, so you don’t have to go anywhere else looking for it.

It’s buzzing in the West Ham gym now and I’m really starting to get comfortable there. We all train like demons, but we do like a laugh and a joke as well; there’s a strong bond and I’m liking it.

It was hard for me to split from Ricky Hatton and leave Manchester, but working with Barry Smith has been great so far.

My support comes from all over, but I really want people in Belfast to come out and back me in my next fight at the Devenish Complex so I can fight in Ireland more often.

The show is just around the corner from my house in Belfast. It’s just a six-rounder, but I can’t wait to get back in there because it’s been a while since my last fight, in July last year when I won the English super-lightweight title.

It’ll be my first fight with my new team in the corner consisting of Barry, Harry Andrews and former English champion Tommy Martin.

The show will be co-promoted by my management MTK and Mark Ginley, a former professional boxer from Belfast.

My brother Sonny used to hang around with Mark and I’m very friendly with his younger brother Ray, he’s a coach now and has taken me on the pads before.

Ray has a good boxer in Lewis Crocker who makes his debut on the February 18 BoxNation TV show in Belfast, so good luck to them both.

I can see Ray Ginley becoming another trainer like Shane McGuigan that every boxer wants to be with. They will make a good team together with Ray training and Mark promoting.

My brothers Sonny and Pauly are both fighting on St Patricks day in Brentwood on March 17 and I’ll stay in Belfast for a week after my fight then I’ll be back home to support the boys in their fights.

There’s boxing on ITV Box Office this weekend with Chris Eubank Jr going for his first world title at super-middleweight against Renold Quinlan.

I know my fighters and I have never heard of the other guy! Eubank is a good, strong, hungry boxer and he will be a world champ one day (IBO is not a recognised world title) but my advice would be to stop talking rubbish about Golovkin and just fight him!

The best fight on that show will be Etches v Ryder. It’s a must-win for them both because where does the other fighter go from there if they get beat?

Ryder could possibly stop Etches, although it’s a big ask for him, but Etches does walk on to shots. Ryder should outbox him all day but he’s frustrating.

I remember watching Ryder spar with Darren Barker and I used to say ‘this guy is so good’, and I can remember when he came up against Eamonn O’Kane and everyone thought he would lose to him, but I said no way and John went out there and battered him!

I hope that David Price beats Christian Hammer too. David is managed by MTK, like me, and I’d like to see him do well because he’s a nice guy.

I think he’s been a bit unlucky in his career, but he’s with Dave Coldwell now who is good trainer.

*For tickets to the show, contact 07951 318 081, and follow @AntouptonJR on Twitter.

Anto would like to thank his sponsors The Meat Man, Warm Front Ltd, Muscle Doctor, Tully Tyres, his management team MTK and agent Tim Rickson.

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