Anthony Nelson is on his way back.
The South Shields sporting hero has returned to the Harton & Westoe Miners Welfare gym and is targeting a comeback fight in the new year.
We’re looking at putting a show on in Shields early next year and Anthony would probably top the bill in an eight-rounderMAL GATES
Nelson has not boxed since losing his Commonwealth title blockbuster with Jamie Conlan, back in April 2016.
The 31-year-old lost his belt in the battle of the unbeaten super-flyweights, when he was knocked out by the Northern Ireland boxer in the eighth round at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Olympic Park.
Conlan, who had been on the canvas twice himself, looked a beaten man when he pulled out his sensational KO finish.
Awarded the fight of the year accolade, there was talk of a rematch in Belfast, but, despite playing his part in an incredible fight, no title opening came Nelson’s way and he drifted away from the gym and boxing.
But the former Horsley Hill ABC crowd favourite has regained the old fire.
Coach Mal Gates said: “It’s great to have Nella back.
“He has been in the gym a couple of times this week, but, for now, he’s largely been running to get the weight off.
“We’re looking at putting a show on in Shields early next year and Anthony would probably top the bill in an eight-rounder.
“After that, we’ll see where we are and take the next step forward.”
Team Nelson will walk before they can run, but there is no reason why he can’t be challenging for titles again in 2018, with the former English champ likely to campaign at bantamweight.
While the exciting fighter is on the ‘wrong side’ of 30, Gates is confident that there are a lot of miles left on the clock.
“Anthony didn’t lace up the gloves until he was 18,” added the trainer. “He’s not had a hard career – he didn’t have a great number of amateur bouts and he’s only had 12 pro bouts, so there’s plenty left.”
Nelson lost motivation not just over his title and lack of concrete fight opportunities, but the loss of a sponsorship deal with South Shields FC.
“That probably hit him as much as anything,” said Gates. “I think that knocked his confidence, the thought that people had lost faith in him.
“But I think it was maybe a communication issue. I’m not sure they realised how good a fight it was and how close Anthony was to actually stopping Jamie.
“There is no axe to grind with them – they are bringing great times to Shields.I’m just thrilled Nella is back training again and we’ll see him fight in the new year.”