South Shields Football Club is delighted to announce a partnership with English and Commonwealth boxing champion Anthony Nelson.
The move will allow Anthony, nicknamed Babyface, to train full-time in his next training camp, meaning he can fully concentrate on his boxing career.
The talented super-flyweight, who trains at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare Gym under the tutelage of Mal Gates, is unbeaten in all 11 of his professional contests.
That has seen him win the Northern Area, English and Commonwealth/British Empire championships, but in the build-up to 10 of his fights, he has had to combine training with full-time working as a bricklayer.
Now, though, Anthony says a huge weight has been lifted from his shoulders.
He said: “It has been a frustrating few months since my last fight, because several opportunities have fallen through and I’ve been working around the clock.
“I was struggling to get to the gym, so for (chairman) Geoff Thompson and South Shields Football Club to come on board has been a life-saver.
“It’s massive to have this sponsorship and support. It’s not just fantastic from a physical point of view, because I’m tired from work. It has also released so much stress for me.
“All I have to think about is my job, which is to train and get fit.
“That’s the way it should be, and how it was previously for me. I’m back to where I need to be thanks to the football club.”
And as Anthony – pictured, right, alongside coach Mal Gates, South Shields FC managing director Michael Orr and Mariners chairman Geoff Thompson – explains, without such support, he may have been forced to walk away from the sport altogether.
However, he is now hoping that himself, and the football club, can put the town ‘on the map’ in their respective sports.
He added: “Over Christmas, I became so disheartened that I was ready to pack boxing in altogether.
“I’ve now got the bug back, though, and this support allows me to target the British title, which would be fantastic for me.
“The more myself and the football club can do for South Shields, the better. We’re both trying to put the town on the map in our own sports.
“It’s fantastic to see the club doing so well, and getting such great support. I’m delighted they have come on board.”
Mal Gates, pictured left with Anthony, has coached the talented boxer throughout his career, which has included big title wins at Temple Park, in South Shields, and the Metro Radio Arena, in Newcastle.
Mr Gates said: “Anthony has done fantastically well to win three major belts and remain unbeaten whilst having to work full-time for 10 out of his 11 fight camps.
“However, he is now at the stage were he has to be able to train full-time to give him every opportunity to win the belt we have next in our sights, which is the British title.
“Not only would this be a massive achievement for him, but he would be the first boxer from South Shields to challenge for the coveted Lonsdale belt, and we need to give him every opportunity to win it and fulfil his potential.
“Anthony won the English title in a thrilling fight at Temple Park, which for me personally was so satisfying as I had always wanted to be part of a big show in my hometown featuring Anthony.
“We are absolutely delighted to have linked up with South Shields Football Club and hopefully we can bring more success to our hometown.
“I think he recognised that like himself with the football team, we are also trying to put South Shields on the map for boxing.”
Michael Orr, South Shields FC’s managing director, said: “This is a great example of two sports joining together with the common aim of promoting sporting achievement, whilst raising the profile of the town of South Shields to a wider audience.
“Having met Anthony, I have no doubt he will reward our contribution with the utmost dedication and determination to achieve his ambitions. We wish him all the success he deserves.”
IMAGES: Peter Talbot.