News December 2013

Boxing Brothers: Meet the Upton clan


By Michael J Jones

Just beginning their journey in the world of pro boxing are the talented Upton brothers. Paul, Sonny and Anthony have all turned pro this year after winning an impressive brace of amateur titles in the unpaid code.

Anthony and Paul are based at the Trad TKO gym in Canning town under former Commonwealth champion Mo Hussein while Sonny trains in Manchester under former world champion Ricky ďThe HitmanĒ Hatton.

The brothers grew up both in Ireland and West Ham and were introduced to boxing at an early age by their father. Granddad Upton was an amateur veteran of some 200 bouts and boxed for Ireland. His Grandsons would follow suit and proceeded to win many Irish and Multi-Nations titles.

Livefight was able to talk to the three promising siblings this week to learn more about them and discuss their careers so far.

Anthony and Paul at TKO

Bro1 Anthony

Age: 21

Height: 5í9Ē

Weight and stance: Light-welterweight/switch-hitter

Current record: 1-0

LF) How did your pro debut go?

AU) It went well, I boxed Dan Carr at York Hall (in October) and won on points. Training had gone very well after a ten-week camp and it was a good fight to get me started. Iím out next hopefully January.

LF) How would you describe your fighting style?

AU) Iím a very smooth fighter and quite slick. A lot of people who have watched me spar have said I look completely at home in the ring.

LF) When did you start boxing and what was your favourite amateur highlight?

AU) I started boxing when I was five. My brothers started boxing first and when I was older and my Dad got involved I did the same. I still have a video of me when I was five dropping a kid with a jab when I boxed for Hornchurch.

One of my proudest amateur moments was when I won my first Irish title. I had to box three days in a row to win it, then when I got out of the ring I received a letter from the Irish boxing board telling me I had been selected to represent Ireland in the Four Nations.

Winning the Four Nations gold was another proud moment for me.

LF) Who were your boxing heroes growing up?

AU) Iíd say Micky Ward, Sugar Ray Leonard and Ricky Hatton. I went up to train with Sonny this week and spent time with Ricky. It was mad at first and felt weird (training with Hatton) but after a while I got used to it and realised heís just the same as everyone else even though heís a legend.

LF) How soon would you like to be contesting titles in your career?

AU) All of those things are up to my team my career is in their hands. If they say Iím ready after six fights then Iím ready. Iíve already sparred some guys who are champions and done really well against them so I know I am capable of winning titles.

LF) How are you finding camp in the TKO gym?

AU) Itís all good training with Mo (Hussein). Itís hard graft in a gritty, old-fashioned gym. I canít ask for anything else, Iíve got a good team and get fantastic support from my family.

Note: Both Anthony and Paul are handled by Showtime Sports Events Ltd, a newly-formed promotional outfit run by Johnny Eames and business partner Gianluca Di Caro.

Bro2 Sonny

Age: 24

Height: 6í0Ē

Weight and stance: Welterweight/switch-hitter

Current record: 0-1

LF) Your first fight was a split loss in Bulgaria to Spaniard Nabil Krissi last month. Was the decision fair?

SU) It wasnít really fair no. I should have got the decision Iíve watched it back twice since and gave myself four rounds, him one with one even. A lot of the time he wasnít hitting me when it might have looked like he was. Thatís what itís like fighting away you need to knock them out to win but although I feel I won, it was a good learning experience and I just have to move on now.

LF) How would you describe your fighting style?

SU) Just a tricky switch-hitter really.

LF) What was your favourite amateur moment?

SU) Winning the Multi-Nations Gold and competing in the world championships where I beat Davey Joyce and Mark McCullough (on the same night incidently). McCullough is a pro now too.

LF) Your other two brothers train in London while you are based in Manchester. Was it tough being separated from your siblings after training with each other for so long?

SU) Yes it was hard as we had been training together all of our lives and have that close bond. Anthony has been with me this week and itís been great. Before my first fight (on the Sergei Rabchenko-Bradley Pryce undercard) I was running on my own and that so I didnít feel that helped before my debut.

LF) Youíre gym mates with Rabchenko do the two of you ever spar?

SU) Yeah we sparred before the Bulgaria show. I also worked with Junior Witter and a few of the Sheffield lads.

LF) What was it like between Ricky and Witter?

SU) They got on all right obviously things are different from when they were rivals. After a while they were cracking jokes and getting on well together.

LF) Were you a Hatton fan growing up?

Sonny with trainer Ricky

SU) Yes I liked his style; he was just furious, just kept coming forward. The night he beat Kostya Tszyu was a great fight.

LF) Who were some of your other boxing heroes?

SU) Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Ricky (Hatton) and Tommy Hearns.

SU) Do you intend to keep busy early in your career?

SU) Yes Iím looking to take any fight I can the more experience the better.

LF) You box this Friday (December 6th) in Italy do you know who your opponent will be?

SU) Heís a Bulgarian named Traian Dimitrov, Iíve seen a clip of him and he looks awkward. Heís had nine fights, eight losses and been stopped five times but Iím just going to do my best and get the win.

Bro3 Paul

Age: 25

Height: 5í11Ē

Weight and stance: Light-middleweight/orthodox

Current record: 2-0

LF) You are currently 2-0 as a pro what can you tell us about those two wins?

PU) My first fight (in July) was against a tough journeyman (Dee Mitchell). I think it was his 50th fight, so he had experience. I learned a lot from it and enjoyed going the distance with him (winning 40-37).

It was a shock to fight as a pro the first time; thereís obviously no head-guard, smaller gloves etc. I tired in the 4th round of my first fight but the second (against Dan Carr in October), I felt fitter and less nervous (winning another decision).

LF) How would you describe your fighting style?

PU) Iím a good counter-puncher but I like having a tear-up as well.

LF) What was your proudest amateur moment?

PU) My first Irish title in the Under 21ís was a big thing for me. At the time all my other brothers had won one except me. We made history as we all got to the Under 21ís final in the same year.

LF) You were the brother who first decided to turn pro; why did you feel the time was right?

PU) There was some controversy in the amateur game, and I found there were favourites in the Irish team. I wasnít happy anymore so after the London Olympics I thought rather than wait another four years I may as well turn pro.

LF) I know all three of you get support from your family, in particular your Dad?

PU) Yeah our Dad has been there from the start and got us all into boxing. He went all over the world with us (in the amateurs) and even sells tickets for us. With him sorting that out we can all just focus on training with a lot of the pressure off.

LF) What are your immediate goals in your pro career?

PU) When I was younger my Dadís friend Felix Kelly was the Southern Area champion so thatís a title Iíd like to win. The British title is the main one most people target so that will be a goal down the line.

LF) You are all accomplished fighters but which brother hits the hardest?

PU) Iíd say Anthony. Heís been knocking people out in sparring wearing the bigger gloves so can punch quite hard (Sonny agreed also).

Sonny Upton fights this Friday in Pavia, Italy in his second contest, many thanks to all brothers for talking to Livefight but in particular Sonny who spoke just two days before his fight.

The Upton lads may feature on the same show in the near future as they continue to climb the pro ranks. Anthony and Paul have already appeared on the same show in October at York Hall (both won on points).

To follow the three boxing brothers on Twitter, click here

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