Former Commonwealth champion Anthony Nelson has decided to hang up his boxing gloves.
The super-flyweight has retired after a brilliant professional career that saw him wow fans across South Tyneside and the country with his all-action style.
The 32-year-old made a comeback this year after two years out of the ring, and had targted a world title to go with the Commonwealth and English belts he had already won.
However, after losing to Charlie Edwards in June at the Metro Radio Arena, in a WBA world championship eliminator fight, ‘Babyface’ has decided to call it a day.
He leaves the sport as one of the most decorated fighters from South Tyneside, with a record of 12 wins and two defeats.
His long-time coach and manager Mal Gates paid tribute to his charge after six years working together.
He said: “Anthony has been an absolute pleasure to coach.
“He is the ultimate professional and always gives 100%.
“For a late starter in boxing and having less than 30 amateur bouts I can safely say he exceeded expectations in the professional ranks and that is down to his pure dedication and will to win.
“I can honestly say in all the time I have coached him we have not had a cross word, we have had some fantastic nights and he has gave me so many highs .
“It comes to a point where he has to think about his future and his family. We haven’t been able to secure a sponsor for him and that’s another reason why he has decided to call it a day.
“But Nella has achieved so much, he has been a superb ambassador for South Shields and South Tyneside, and we’d also like to thank all the fans and the Gazette for the way you have all supported us over the years.”
Nelson turned professional in January 2012 after a spell as an amateur with Horsley Hill ABC.
He secured a solid points win over Jonathan Fry on his debut that year before becoming Northern Area super-flyweight champion in 2013 with a hard-fought points win over Mohammed Waqas.
The best was yet to come, however. On an unforgettable Sunday afternoon in October 2014, Nelson lifted the roof off the Templae Park Centre when he won the English title with a superb points win over Terry Broadbent, of Leeds.
And the following hyear, he stepped up another level to win the Commonwealth strap by stopping Scotland’s Jamie Wilson at the Arena.
Possibly his defining fight, however, was at the Copperbox Arena in London in April 2016 when a sensational fight narrowly went against him as he lost his Commonwealth title to Belfast star Jamie Conlan in a brutal battle that saw Nelson’s punching power and bravery at its very best.
That bout was voted British Boxing Board of Control’s fight of the year, and incredible achievement, but it was followed by two years out of the ring for Nelson after he lost a sponsorship deal and moved away from the region.
On returning to Shields, he headlined his return at Temple Park again, producing a routine six round win against Simas Volosinas as a warm-up for the Edwards clash, but his two years out of the top level was clearly evident and Nelson was stopped in three rounds.