By John Hannen: When it comes to derby fights, the Northeast pairing of South Shields’ Anthony ‘Babyface’ Nelson and Middlesbrough’s Mohammed Waqas has all the makings of a little classic.
The duo go toe-to-toe for the Northern Area super-flyweight title at the Stadium of Light on July 7, when they headline Pro Box North East’s ‘Summer Rumble’ bill, and both are predicting their first title win.
“He’s a good lad in and out of the ring and I know he’s done the 10 rounds before,” explained Nelson, 27, who is undefeated in six. “I’ve only seen him box once [against Brett Fidoe] and he gave a credible performance. He’s a good stand up boxer and moves well on the back foot. However that was a four round fight, I don’t think he’ll be able to box me on the back foot for 10 rounds, and if he chooses to stand and box inside then I’m sure things may get exciting.
“Training’s gone really well. We’ve been doing a lot of strength and conditioning work and building our stamina for the 10 rounds. We’ve been around a few gyms sparring with different lads, including Tommy Ward who is also on the show, and I’m really looking forward to the fight and I know the fans are too. It would mean a lot [to win the Northern Area belt]. It will show I’m dedicated and prove that all the hard work we put in, inside and outside of the ring, is all worth it. I’ll be proud to bring the belt back to South Shields.”
“He’s a good opponent and I expect a hard fight from him,” countered 21-year-old Mohammed, who has lost two of six. “He’s the same as me; he doesn’t come to make up numbers. He’s there to fight the same as I am.
“My training has been going really well. I’ve had some good, quality sparring [against British champion Paul Butler] so I’m up for it and really looking forward to hopefully winning my first pro title! It would mean so much to me and it should hopefully open doors to bigger fights and bigger titles.”
“It’s rare for fighters at this stage of their career to take risky bouts, and want to test themselves, so credit to them. Both are exciting, come-forward fighters,” stated promoter Phil Jeffries, “so when you pair them together it’s definitely going to be explosive. They are both technically very good, both come to fight, and it will be non-stop action for however long it lasts. When you throw into the mix that it’s a derby fight and the Northern Area title is on the line then it doesn’t get a lot better. I guarantee this will be a fight not to be missed and we’ll be talking about it for a long time to come.”
Pro Box North East’s ‘Summer Rumble’, at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on July 7, will feature fighters from across the region including Sunderland’s Jonson McClumpha, Kirk Goodings and Lee Mould; Newcastle’s Andrew Buchanan; South Shields’ Anthony Nelson; Middlesbrough’s Mohammed Waqas; Hartlepool’s Peter Cope; County Durham’s Ben Jackson, Tommy Ward, and English bantamweight champ Martin Ward. While Anthony Hardy and Michael Hadfield will both make debuts.
July 1, 2013