Portsmouth’s favourite boxing son has taken his first protege under his wing.
And Tony Oakey is tipping Garry Neale to get into the professional title mix within 18 months.
The Leigh Park Warrior has linked up with the lightweight and his old pal, professional trainer Michael Ballingall.
After undertaking his own trainer’s licence the former WBU, British, Commonwealth and Prizefighter champion will be in ‘Real’ Neale’s corner tonight.
And it’s something Oakey can’t wait to do.
He said: ‘We’ve come to an arrangement that I help train Garry.
‘I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather do it for.
‘He’s a local boy who I’ve known since he was a kid.
‘He’s from the same council estate as me.
‘Garry is a nice lad from a good family.
‘He is dedicated and he listens – so he can only get better.
‘I see him being a year to 18 months from going for a title shot of some description.
‘He’s not that far from that.’
Oakey believes he has already seen improvements in Neale in the short time he has worked with him.
The pair did link up previously as he moved into the professional ranks.
That partnership has now been rekindled and the early signs are promising, according to Oakey.
He said: ‘He’s like my little project in a way.
‘I can see he’s already improving nicely.
‘I used to help train him anyway, but Michael encouraged me to get involved again.
‘Michael helped me all the way through my career so we have a good relationship.
‘But it’s working well and seems to be benefiting Garry.
‘He’s enjoying it so hopefully we reaps the benefits.
‘It’s a good partnership.’
Neale tonight puts his five-fight unbeaten professional record on the line, as he steps up to six rounds against Slovakian Ivan Godor.
The 25-year-old has shown steady signs of improvement in his career to date in those contests.
Godor has won 15 and lost 39 of his professional contests with four draws.
The 34-year-old has been in with a number of British talents including Johnny Garton, Troy James, David Barnes, Martin Gethin and Tyrone Nurse.
They were all unable to take Godor out early.
Oakey said: ‘Garry’s got his first six rounder against a foreign opponent.
‘He’s looking good and sparring well.
‘Garry’s done loads of sparring with Floyd Moore, he’s fit and ready.’
Meanwhile, Copnor ABC and Gym01 link up to host a jam-packed amateur show tomorrow.
Priory School hosts the bumper event which is slated to hold up to 20 bouts.
The action gets underway from midday with tickets costing £12.