Neale out to prove he’s real deal

Garry Neale on his way to victory over Andy Harris. Picture: Mick Young
Garry Neale on his way to victory over Andy Harris. Picture: Mick Young
Dave Birmingham. Picture: Neil Marshall

Birmingham wins Irish friends as he eyes future title

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Garry Neale is promising to dazzle on his title breakthrough.

The Leigh Park lightweight tops the bill on Friday at the Mountbatten Centre as he tackles Slovakian Elemir Rafael for the International Masters title.

Neale puts his seven-fight unbeaten record on the line against Rafael as he steps up to eight rounds for the first time.

The 26-year-old has picked up a single stoppage in his pro career to date.

But now the man nicknamed the Real is looking to bring excitement and power to the table as he aims to shine in front of a decent following.

Neale said: ‘I’m going to show excitement and the strength I’ve got and hopefully Rafael will be coming to give me a good fight.

‘It’s massive for me and it would be lovely to get a good win and look good doing it.

‘There’s going to be a lot of Leigh Park support there and it’ll be brilliant to do well.

‘Training has been good. I used to train every other day and run in between but now I’m training every day and running before work so it’s quite extreme.

‘The eight rounds won’t be a problem as I’ve kept fit since my last fight and it’s not much more than the six-rounders I’ve been doing already.

‘I’m getting good sparring, too, with plenty of rounds.’

Neale returns to the ring for the first time since outpointing Andy Harris over six rounds in September.

Trainer Michael Ballingall is looking to let the former Leigh Park ABC amateur off the leash as he moves towards completing his second year in the pro ranks.

That means aiming towards a Southern Area title shot in 2015.

Ballingall feels that could happen with Neale moving down to the super-featherweight division.

He is confident that is a realistic proposition but is also considering aiming for a clash with Adam Dingsdale.

Dingsdale claimed Floyd Moore’s Southern Area title in disputed fashion in June.

Ballingall is confident either option is viable but is leaning marginally towards Neale stepping down in weight.

He knows he first has to look at delivering in style on Friday.

Ballingall said: ‘We’re looking for a good win for Garry. It’s about looking good while he does it, too.

‘After this, if all goes well, we’ll be looking to move him on to a Southern Area title shot.

‘It could be that boxing Adam Dingsdale is an option.

‘He boxed him in the amateurs and lost a close points decision to him.

‘We want to move him on now.

‘He could stay at lightweight but we could also get him down to super-featherweight.

‘The more he’s been dedicating himself the better he has been making the weight and Garry has the height to be a good super-featherweight.

‘He could do either, so there are options for him ahead.

‘But first he has to get Rafael out of the way on Friday before we push forward.’

Neale headlines the pro card, which also features the likes of Joel McIntyre, Danny Couzens and debut-making Biola Kudus, on Friday night at the Mountbatten Centre.