Anton Upton

Anton Upton
Raucous.  That's the best way  to describe York Hall when the 'Upton Clan' descend upon it for fight nights.  Expect to see the tricolour of the Irish flag drapen off balconies, heads and.....well, anything that is available.  The Upton Clan consists of three brothers; Paul, Sonny and Anthony (Anton).  Today I have got hold of Anton, the youngest of five brothers - four of which took up boxing and one of three to turn professional.  Being half blind, the oldest was unable to - but, Anton tells me "he was really good, strong.  Very strong".
Anton, at 23 years old, has a professional record of nine wins, no losses and no draws and is the youngest of the three fighting brothers.  With 4 knockouts on his resume he is progressing nicely in the light welterweight division.  
"The first 18 months have been good - successful.  I honestly think if the opponents had come to fight me I would have 9 KOs on my record".  Ah, the familiar story of the journeyman opponent, there to spoil.  "It's not a problem to me.  I'm learning my trade.  I don't like getting hit, but who does?!  I'm learning to stay sharp and elusive against these guys.  I'm seeing shots coming and getting away, nothing has troubled me so far."
Who would he rate as the hardest of the fighters he has made easy work of then?  He gives it a bit of a think, then remembers of one fighter.  "Lubos Priehradnik.  Wow, that fight - I hurt my hand in it.  I didn't break it, but I went back to the corner and told Ricky at the end of the third that it was sore.  He told me just to use my skills and see it through, which I did.  He's been in with other UK fighters after that and caused them issues, so I'm pleased with it."
The Ricky that he refers to is British ring legend, Manchester's Ricky Hatton.  The youngest of the Upton clan ended up following his brother Sonny up to Manchester to train with Hatton. "Sonny was with him, and I was down in London.  I thought 'Wow, he's training with Ricky, that's unreal'.  So I asked Ricky if I could do some training with him and thankfully he said yes.  Then Paul followed us up here too.  Ricky has had so much success over the years and now he's passing it on."  

Being a success in the ring doesn't always lend itself to being a top coach out of it.  What does Anton make of the Hatton training methods?  "What a trainer - really, he is top class.  He's the best by far that I've had.  And he's great out of the ring too, he helps us get dates lined up - he gave me five dates I would be fighting in 2015 so we could plan our breaks, our camps and thing like that.  He's been really good getting us linked up with Steve Goodwin of Goodwin Promotions too, getting us on the York Hall shows.  Steve and Kevin (Campion of Goodwin Promotions), they're good people."
Hatton was renowned for his aggressive ring nature, and his out of the ring lifestle.  He build up a huge following over the years - something that is in the infancy for Anton and the family.  York Hall has been a bit of a base of late for them, but there are fans in Manchester, London and even Scotland.  Does Anton take the same route Ricky did of hand delivering the tickets to fans?  
It's clear this is a tight knit group.  Anton tells me:  "When I was growing up my brothers were my idols.  I look up to them.  We never went short on sparring!  Nowadays when we have a fight coming up we live together, train together and stay together.  Once fight night is done then we tend to go our separate ways.  It's good for us to do our own thing for a bit and then we get back together next time."
So it's time to get the brothers back together.  Anton has his fight on the horizon - he has taken today off training as he still has a few weeks to go and is suffering a stomach ache and has time on his side.  That's not limited to just his training for this fight - Upton feels that his career doesn't need to be rushed at this point either.  "My next fight will be a six rounder, I haven't got an opponent lined up next.  I don't want to rush things, I want to learn in every fight and tick all the boxes.  For instance, I haven't been cut yet - touch wood I won't have to be, but I could still do with experiencing it.  Same thing with being wobbled - I want to learn and experience these things before I get to title fights."  
There is a sternness to Anton, an unwavering belief.  When he talked about future title fights he talks in the "when" not "if" mode.  He may not have been tested yet in the ring, but he has shown his ability to adapt out of it already, having upped sticks to head for Machester with Ricky Hatton.  That shows a determination to succeed.  Where he goes in the future he sees as being the task of Ricky Hatton.  "I just want to get this next fight out of the way then we will see.  I want it to be an eight rounder after this one.  But it's up to Ricky, he will know when I'm ready."
Four older brother - two of whom he can relate to through occupation.  Four idols already in place.  One former world champion to nurture, guide and coach.  Anton may not be the full package yet, but if you had to design an environment for a fighter to succeed within, then it would look something like the Upton Clan.
You can follow Anton on Twitter @AntouptonJR
He asked to pass on a special thank to Musclefood, his primary sponsors, who have been a "massive help" to his career.