It wasn’t too long ago his fitness was hindered by his smoking habit.
Now Garry Neale is out to show he’s the real deal after extinguishing the fags once and for all.
The Leigh Park lightweight has been tasked with underlining his potential at the Mountbatten Centre tonight against Slovakian Elemir Rafael.
Neale, nicknamed The Real, steps up to eight rounds for the first time as he boxes for the International Masters bronze title.
The 26-year-old has est
ablished a seven-fight unbeaten record since turning pro last year.
But his commitment to the sport has been hindered by a weakness for cigarettes.
Trainer Michael Ballingall explained that habit has finally been curbed and the former Leigh Park ABC amateur is now showing the professionalism needed to progress.
He said: ‘Garry’s in the right condition and we are 100-per-cent comfortable with him.
‘He has slowly but surely become a true professional.
‘The way he has gone about this shows he’s ready to step up.
‘In training he’s completely and utterly different.
‘Garry was a smoker and smoked for years.
‘That’s all stopped and his fitness is going well.
‘It just shows the mentality he had towards being a boxer and how he has made the adjustment to being a true professional.
‘The way he prepares, the mental attitude and what to eat is much better.
‘He’s showing the attitude to training to fitness and running early in the mornings.
‘He knows he has to do it because it pays off on the night.
‘All these things have been the building blocks to make Garry a better boxer.
‘He’s learnt a lot over the past few years.
‘Hopefully we will tonight see the crowning of a new young prospect.’
Neale is also gearing up for fatherhood with his fiancee, Jenna, pregnant.
Ballingall explained his boxer was fortunate to have a partner supportive to the sacrifices needed for him to be a success in the noble art.
He said: ‘He has given up a lot. His other half is having a baby but gives him great support and even helps selling tickets. That’s a good relationship in terms of supporting a boxer, which can be difficult.’
Neale will be expected to clinically handle the threat provided by Rafael tonight.
A decent showing could pave the way for a Southern Area title shot in 2015.
That could happen down at super featherweight, where Neale’s future appears to lie.
First, though, he must deal with what is in front of him on home soil.
Ballingall said: ‘We have to do the job and do it well.
‘What we are trying to do with Garry is show he can beat an opponent like a top prospect.
‘This has to be done in a clinical way. It’s about proving to himself he has the class. It’s about him looking good and then going places.
‘This is all about Garry proving he’s real.’