Sonny Upton has pushed his unfortunate debut defeat firmly into the past and the welterweight prospect is now eager to positively channel the experiences gained from some high-quality sparring sessions. After negotiating his way past Kevin McCauley in February the 24-year-old showed he has the skills and cool temperament to go far in professional boxing.
“Mike and Ricky have been teaching me the tricks of the trade and telling me not to lose my head. Kevin McCauley’s been around the block, he was a good, tough opponent,” said Upton.
“We were after a six-rounder but he only wanted four and if it had of been changed to six I think I could’ve just outboxed him even more or maybe got a stoppage. Kevin’s obviously been in there and hit me on the back of the head and put his own head in a couple of times but I didn’t rise to it because if you lose the head you lose the fight and the game plan goes out of the window.
“You’re in the gym to learn and improve. I’ve been sparring middleweights and even a super-middleweight in the gym leading up to this fight. Guys like Sergei Rabchenko, Junior Witter and team mate Adam Little and a few of Brendan Ingle’s boys as well. That’s all very good experience because a lot of them have had pro fights as well and they know their way around the block.”
On the night Sonny enjoyed excellent support from punters who travelled from a variety of locations including Belfast, Essex, London, Scotland,Wales and Manchester. Upton explained that rather than “fans” he prefers to refer to his following hordes as simply friends and family. Upton is a well-grounded young man who gives discerning observers exactly what they want to see in the ring.
“It was strange being back here at the Stadium because the last time I fought here was against Ross Hickey for the [amateur] World Box-Off. I pulled a ligament in my arm and he ended up winning the fight; it was a great performance from Hickey. It’s an honour to be back though because this is where it all started and I like to call it home. It’s my first pro victory in Dublin and hopefully I can get back over for more shows in Ireland.”
Manager Ricky Hatton is expecting big things from Upton but stressed the fact that he is still only young and needs time to develop his physique and “man’s strength”.
“Kevin McCauley fights all the prospects and very few knock him out. It’s only the champions like Rabchenko and Vassell who stop him,” enthused Hatton, who also explained the pre-fight confusion over whether the bout was a four or six-rounder.
“I thought it was a four-rounder and then we were told it was a six so I kept my mouth shut but when he [McCauley] got in the ring he said it was a four. It was worth a try! From a coaching point of view Sonny’s improving on what he’s doing in the gym and he’s doing those things in the ring so it’s pleasing for me. Bit by bit he’s getting better.
“I’m delighted that Gary Hyde gave us the chance and hopefully it will be a regular thing for Sonny to fight here in Dublin,” added Ricky.