Mal Gates has laughed off suggestions he is “stupid” to send Lee Mould in with Adam Little in Blackpool.
The unbeaten welterweights square up for the vacant English championship at the Hilton Hotel this Saturday night.
I want what is best for my fighters and I am confident Lee will be English championMal Gates
Mould is undefeated in eight contests while Blackpool boxer Little has reeled off 12 straight wins and has home advantage.
It looks a potential classic between two men on the up in a game where so often the best fighters successfully avoid each other.
Not in this case though and the winner can expect to move towards British and Commonwealth contention and possibly beyond.
Gates says he has been surprised his judgement has been questioned and that he should not have taken the Sunderland fighter into his rival’s backyard.
“Lee thrives on the pressure,” said the South Shields trainer.
“I’ve heard some people have said I’m stupid for taking this fight.
“I want what’s best for my fighters and I am confident Lee will become the English champion.
“People have said ‘what happens if he wins it?’ and I say ‘great, we’ll move on to the next level’.
“That’s what we’ve done with Anthony Nelson, taken things step by step.
“The English title is the next step for Lee.”
Within an unbeaten gym run of over 20 bouts between Nelson, Mould and Tom Whitfield, the numbers suggest Gates knows exactly what he’s doing.
The coach says “Lightning Lee” has gone past the stage of fighting journeymen and they are up for this challenge.
“I’m not going to train someone for six, eight, 10 weeks to go in with someone you know you are going to beat,” he said.
“It’s OK when you are starting out to have fights like that but when you reach a certain level then you have to push on.”