Challenger Jamie Conlan is making the biggest mistake of his life if he underestimates Anthony Nelson in their Commonwealth title fight.
That was the warning today from Mal Gates, the coach of the undefeated Nelson.
If they think Anthony Nelson is just a stepping stone to something else they are making a big mistakeCoach Mal Gates
The South Shields boxer puts his super-flyweight belt and his 100 per cent record on the line in London on Saturday night.
Conlan, from Belfast, is also unbeaten and considered the favourite at the Copperbox Arena in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium.
There is already talk of a potential ‘Battle of Britain’ showdown between the gifted Englishman Paul Butler and Conlan for a world title.
Both are promoted by Frank Warren, each man has a high world rating, and the two rivals have spoken publicly about a showdown.
But Gates says any such talk is premature.
“If they think Anthony Nelson is just a stepping stone to something else they are making a big mistake,” said the trainer from his Harton & Westoe Miners WMC gym.
“This is not just my opinion, it’s from people in the know in boxing.
“If they are thinking along those lines they are seriously underestimating Anthony.
“There is no way he’s going down to London to make the numbers up.”
Gates says Nelson’s maiden title defence against the 29-year-old is the third time the match has been mooted.
And the 53-year-old believes he can fight off the threat of the all-action challenger who has the monikar of “The Mexican”.
Gates said: “Having watched Anthony sparring, I’m more convinced than ever that belt’s not going anywhere.
“I’ve watched Jamie Conlan and know him inside out, I know what we’ve got to do and we have our plan.
“I’m not going to tell you what it is but I’m not sure he can live with Anthony’s work-rate.
“Jamie’s pretty similar to Anthony in the way he fights but while not giving anything away, I think there are things we can exploit.
“It should be a good fight, it’s one we’ve nearly had before
“It’s the third time we’ve tried to make it, we even offered to go to Belfast but it fell through.
“It’s on now and the biggest mistake Conlan can make is to under-estimate Anthony and think he just has turn up to win.”