Babyface Nelson ready for first ten round test on Sunday
South Shields’ Anthony ‘Babyface’ Nelson (6-0) and Middlesbrough’s Mohammed Waqas (4-2) contest the Northern Area super-flyweight title at the Stadium of Light on July 7, headlining Pro Box North East’s ‘Summer Rumble’ bill.
The ten rounder will be Nelson's first shot at a belt, whereas Waqas lasted the half hour distance back in February, losing a narrow decision away to Leicestershire's Louis Norman for the British Masters flyweight title.
But Nelson, unbeaten in six, doesn't reckon Waqas will be able to box on the back foot for ten rounds, and expects it to get interesting.
“I’ve only seen him box once [against Brett Fidoe] and he gave a credible performance. He’s a good stand up boxer and moves well on the back foot. However, that was a four round fight. I don’t think he’ll be able to box me on the back foot for 10 rounds, and if he chooses to stand and box inside then I'm sure things will get exciting.
“We’ve been doing a lot of strength and conditioning work and building our stamina for the 10 rounds. We’ve been around a few gyms sparring with different lads, including Tommy Ward who is also on the show, and I’m really looking forward to the fight and I know the fans are too. It would mean a lot to win the Northern Area belt. It will show I’m dedicated and prove that all the hard work we put in, inside and outside of the ring, is all worth it. I’ll be proud to bring the belt back to South Shields.” 21-year-old Waqas said: “He’s the same as me - he doesn't come to make up numbers. He's there to fight the same as I am.
“I’ve had some good, quality sparring [British champion Paul Butler] so I'm up for it and really looking forward to hopefully winning my first pro title! It would mean so much to me and it should hopefully open doors to bigger fights and bigger titles.”
Promoter Phil Jeffries said: “It’s rare for fighters at this stage of their career to take risky bouts, and want to test themselves, so credit to them.
"Both are exciting, come-forward fighters, so when you pair them together it's going to be explosive. When you throw into the mix that it’s a derby fight and the Northern Area title is on the line then it doesn’t get a lot better.”
Pro Box North East’s ‘Summer Rumble’ features fighters from across the region including Sunderland’s Jonson McClumpha, Kirk Goodings and Lee Mould; Newcastle’s Andrew Buchanan; Hartlepool’s Peter Cope; County Durham’s Ben Jackson, Tommy Ward, and English bantamweight champ Martin Ward. Anthony Hardy and Michael Hadfield will both make debuts.