Mixed fortunes for Mal Gates boxers Tom Whitfield and Anthony Nelson

Anthony Nelson.
Anthony Nelson.

Mal Gates has experienced mixed fortunes as his boxing team build up to a return to the ring.

Unbeaten duo Anthony Nelson and Tom Whitfield were scheduled to fight at this coming Friday night show at Gateshead.

It’s a blow for Tom, but everything’s been going well for Nelson

Mal Gates

But while it’s “all systems go” for Nelson, Whitfield has been forced to pull out of the Steve Wraith-promoted event with an elbow problem.

Whitfield was looking to extend his 100 per cent run to four bouts by seeing off Kent southpaw Mick Mills.

However, Gates told the Gazette that he had no option but withdraw the welterweight.

“It’s a blow for Tom,” said the South Shields trainer.

“His elbow has been giving him trouble but we’d been training through it and that was going OK.

“But it’s been gradually getting worse and we went to see a specialist about it.

“Tom’s a plasterer so obviously the elbow is in constant use.

“He’s had an injection in the elbow and we’re waiting to see how it settles down, but he made need an op.”

While Whitfield awaits news, Gates is busy sharpening Nelson for his first bout since his Commonwealth super-flyweight title triumph.

The South Shields sporting hero has not boxed since clinching the famous belt with a stoppage victory over Scotland’s Jamie Wilson in Newcastle in April.

With Eddie Hearn set to return to the Metro Radio Arena in the autumn, this is a chance for Nelson to tune up for a possible big fight.

The undefeated 29-year-old will take on Ian Halsall at the Gateshead Academy for Sport on Friday night.

Scheduled for six rounds, it will be a testing return for the fighter known as “Babyface”.

Halsall, from St Helens, has three wins and a draw on his six-fight log and is rated as a difficult opponent.

“Everything has been going well with Nella,” said Gates.

“We’ve been training two or three times a day, his weight is down and he’s looking good.

“It’s great to have him back in the ring and it’s all systems go for Friday night.”

Nelson has been working hard at the Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare gym and has just completed his final sparring session.

“Nella has been sparring with a lad from Scarborough, Ross Downey,” added Gates. “He’s trained by Ryan Ashworth, a boxer who was coached by Neil Fannan in Hartlepool.

“Ross has been making a 180-mile round trip to do these sessions and it’s worked out well for both lads I think.

“His style is very much like Nella, he’s pretty full-on, so the sparring has been good.”

For tickets for Friday, contact Mal on 07510320981