Josh Kelly-Tom Whitfield: Underdog ready to cause boxing upset at NXTGEN show

Boxer Tom Whitfield with coach Paul Charters, at Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare gym.
Boxer Tom Whitfield with coach Paul Charters, at Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare gym.

Mal Gates insists Tom Whitfield is not turning up for the proverbial 15 minutes of fame in Newcastle on Friday night.

Whitfield fights on TV for the first time when he provides the opposition for Team GB star Josh ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly at the Walker Dome.

We’ve put in too many miles on the road and too many hours in the gym to just turn up to lose

MAL GATES

Kelly v Whitfield is the main attraction for the second staging of the JD NXTGEN series which showcases some the country’s up-and-coming talent on Sky Sports.

And they don’t come more talented than the 23-year-old, from Sunderland, who has won both his pro bouts following a glittering amateur career.

But the South Shields team are preparing to spoil the North East hero’s homecoming according to coach Mal Gates.

“Tom can beat him, we wouldn’t have taken the bout if we didn’t believe it,” he said.

“We’ve put in too many miles on the road and too many hours in the gym to just turn up to lose.

“Tom’s sparred 66 rounds for this fight – the most rounds he’s ever done.

“Josh is a good kid, we know that, but Tom’s a good kid. We have the utmost respect for Josh and his brilliant coach, Adam Booth.

“But it’s two boxers getting in the ring to fight and may the best man win.

“I’m not a bloke to shoot my mouth off and make predictions, but I know I’ve got Tom ready and he fancies the job. If he performs to the best of ability he is a force to be reckoned with, he has a chance.

“We’ve worked on a game plan and we know what we need to do – it’s up to Tom to execute it on the night.

“He’s looked million dollars on sparring, I couldn’t be more pleased with him.

“I have 100% faith in Tom Whitfield – I wouldn’t have taken the fight if I didn’t think he could win.

“We’re not turning up to make up the numbers and getting payday – Tom is going there to win.”

Whitfield, with a good amateur pedigree behind him with Birtley ABC, has won four of his five pro bouts with the Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare gym team, his sole defeat coming in a challenge for the Northern Area title.

“It’s nice that he’s getting a stint under the spotlight, he deserves it,” added Gates, who thanked sponsors Radar Taxis, Raw ‘n’ Ready and Jale Sports for their backing of the 30-year-old.

For tickets, ring Mal on 07510320981.