Anthony Nelson will “come back and come back stronger” from his heartbreaking Commonwealth title defeat to Jamie Conlan.
That was the message from coach Mal Gates after the South Shields champ was knocked out in round eight by the Belfast fighter.
It will only be championship fights now for Anthony, he’s proved himself at this standardMAL GATES
Nelson was leading the super-flyweight thriller at London’s Copper Box Arena when the end came.
“That kid’s world-rated and Anthony proved he’s up there at that level,” said Gates.
“He will come again, no doubt.
“For me, boxing was the winner. For those who watched it at the Arena or on BoxNation I’m sure will agree with me.
“[Promoter] Frank Warren came over and said ‘what a warrior, he has the heart of a lion and I’d like to have him on my shows’.
“It will only be championship fights now for Anthony, he’s proved himself at this standard.
“He’s desperately upset but he’ll come back and come back stronger.”
Nelson looked on his way to a successful maiden defence and a path to world contention when he put Conlan down twice in round seven, though one was, harshly, judged a low blow.
But Conlan, who decked the champ in round one, produced a peach of a body shot in the eighth and the South Shields FC-sponsored boxer could not beat the count of referee Marcus McDonnell.
“Anthony came back into the fight after a slow start and I thought the way he had pushed him back that the fight was won,” explained Gates.
“He was really putting it on him and Jamie’s eyes were almost closed.
“I thought we had the fight won and he got caught by a good shot, but that’s boxing.
“I think if Anthony had got through that round I firmly believe he would have won the fight, that was Jamie’s last stand.”