Mal Gates is confident Tom Whitfield has the “class” to join the title club at his gym.
The South Shields-trained boxer is looking to follow in the ringsteps of stablemates Anthony Nelson and Lee Mould in bringing a Northern Area championship to the Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare HQ.
Tom’s a class boxer, he’s got good footwork, his hands and feet work really well togetherMAL GATES
Whitfield takes on North-East rival, Daniel Cope, from Hartlepool, for the vacant welterweight belt at Ashington Leisure Centre tomorrow night.
Nelson was the first to lift Area honours when he outpointed Middlesbrough’s Mohammed Waqas at the Stadium of Light in their super-fly clash in 2013.
He was followed into the winner’s enclosure by Mould in 2014 when he defeated Craig Dixon in a belter at Gateshead.
And Gates hopes to see the 29-year-old wearing the welter crown tomorrow night.
“He’s a class boxer,” said the coach, who saw Nelson awarded the British fight of the year recently for his Commonwealth title defence against Jamie Conlan.
“Tom’s got good footwork, his hands and feet work really well together.
“He’s a good reader of a fight and the other good thing about Tom is his height, he’s a freak at the weight.
“It would be nice to get a hat-trick. Our formula seems to work.
“There is a buzz about the place as well after Anthony winning the fight of the year and Lee getting a victory last week.”
Tomorrow’s bout, a repeat of a six-round derby at Houghton last March when Whitfield clinched a close, but worthy, points success, was due to take place in March.
But the former Birtley ABC man was forced out after suffering a broken jaw in sparring.
Gates though says far from his boxer returning weaker he will be stronger than before.
“People will see a better Tom Whitfield in this bout, his defence has improved and his boxing,” said Gates.
“He can fight on the front foot or the back foot.
“We’ve worked on what we expect to happen, but other scenarios as well.
“We know he’s going to come at Tom, I don’t care what anyone else says, he’s going to come flying at us.
“We’ve got to be clever enough to counter-act that.”