10 December 2010 – Steve Wellings
Tucked away on the undercard of the Lindsay-Simpson headliner on December 15, a light-welterweight hopeful will be making his first steps onto the professional circuit. Even though the surname Mills is on his birth certificate, the latest Alan Wilton protg will box under the name Tony Nellins. Hailing from Belfast, Nellins is back in the city intent on making a name for himself as a paid pugilist after a spell in the army convinced him to give it a go.
I had quite a successful amateur career, explained Tony. I won all the Novices, the Ulster Championships, got into the final of the Irish Championships, won the boys clubs and then went off and joined the army. I was fighting at 57kg in the amateurs, won the army individuals, then changed my mind and left the army to turn professional.
I met a guy over in England called Steve Goodwin and turned pro with him, but he wanted me to sign with Alio Wilton to get the fights in Belfast where I can build a fan base. Theres no point in fighting in Chester or anywhere else. Ive sold over 200 tickets and I just hope I can please all the fans and get a win on the night.
Nellins plans on training with Alio (whose son Luke also features on the big show) while moving back and forward to England to touch base with Goodwin. He also fancies his chances of claiming a meaningful title, with the Irish and Celtic crowns high on the agenda.
Ive been sparring in Eastside and over at the Blacks Road for a bit of extra work. In England I spar Omar Gumati – who contested a British Masters title last year- he fights at middleweight.
I dont know anything about my opponent on the night but I dont want to know either. I just want to get in the ring, do the business and make a name for myself. My style is peek-a-boo. I get the head down and move, bob and weave. I like to move about a lot and come back with a combination every time.
Tony believes that his strong fan base will provide a solid foundation to progress with. The Kings Hall is set to be particularly vocal when he makes his first professional bow.
Ive got loads of support over here in Belfast, in England as well and from guys in the army so if I can shift a few tickets I will hopefully get plenty of fights. Staying active is key, so if you dont train then you dont get fights, you need to stay busy all the time and be ready for the call. Im aiming be a dedicated full-time pro and am willing to put all my efforts into the game and reap the rewards.
This is a huge debut for me. People have been fighting all their lives and never got to fight in the Kings Hall so for me to be fighting there really is a once in a lifetime chance.