Anthony Nelson ready to fight world-rated Belfast star Jamie Conlan

Anthony Nelson, right, with trainer Mal Gates. Image by Peter Talbot.

Anthony Nelson, right, with trainer Mal Gates. Image by Peter Talbot.

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Champion Anthony Nelson has accepted a tough first defence of his Commonwealth super-flyweight title in London next month.

But the coach of the South Shields superstar says he is not going there to “just to make up the numbers” against highly-touted challenger Jamie Conlan.

Coach and manager Mal Gates has secured a big fight for Nelson, at the Copperbox, in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, April 30.

Conlan, from Belfast, is looking to follow city neighbour Carl Frampton on the world stage and has signed for leading promoter, Frank Warren.

Many observers feel Warren is looking to engineer a world title fight between Conlan and former IBF king, Paul Butler, who is also in the Queensberry Promotions stable.

But Gates insists Nelson is not going to the Eastend to be a stepping stone for Conlan.

Gates said: “Conlan is very good and world-rated, number five with the WBO.

“He’s unbeaten with 15 straight wins, but he’s nothing to be frightened of.

“We’re not going down there just to make up the numbers – we’ve taken this voluntary defence because we want to enhance Anthony’s career.

“Anthony is number four in Britain, Conlan three, Butler two and Yafai one, so this is a massive fight.

“We’re looking to move Anthony to the next level and this is the ideal opportunity to do that.

“It’s a great fight on a huge show and we’re under no illusions about how hard a contest this is.

“But when chances like this come along, you take them.

“Anthony is training three times a day and is looking in fantastic shape.”

The 30-year-old’s maiden defence comes 12 months after he lifted the vacant title in Newcastle, where he overwhelmed Scotland’s Jamie Wilson in five rounds.

The Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare-based boxer has 11 straight victories on his log – four fewer than his challenger, who is one year his junior.

Conlon won the WBO European super flyweight title two years ago with a seventh-round stoppage win over Belgium’s Benjamin Smoes in Belfast and has since lifted the WBO Inter-Continental belt when he halted Hungary’s Gabor Molnar inside the distance.

He successfully defended that crown last July in Dublin with a points win over Mexico’s Junior Granados.

Team Nelson would like to thank sponsors South Shields FC, Black Sheep Fitness Academy, Chris Davison Custom Diets, Muscle Relief massage therapy, Team Valley Cafe, Eastern Promise and I Clean Services.