PZ: At what age did you get into boxing?
PU: I started at 8 years old.
PZ: Tell me about your amateur career.
PU: I boxed for quite a few clubs in England such as Dagenham and West Ham.
I was fairy young when I was boxing for those clubs and got as far as the Essex finals, but that was about it. My amateur career only really started to take off when I moved to Ireland with my brothers, when I was about 15.
Me and my brothers wanted to follow in our grandfather’s footsteps who had represented Ireland and managed to achieve just that. We ended up winning Irish titles and represented Ireland in major competitions.
There’s four of us (brothers), but unfortunately the eldest, was not able to turn pro as a result of being half blind in one eye. He’s still part of the Upton Clan though!
PZ: I believe one of you have a decent taste in football. Who’s the QPR supporter?
PU: Ha! We were originally born in West London in Ladbroke Grove and QPR was our local team growing up. Our uncle Martin is a mad QPR fan and used to take us to the matches and I still go to the occasional one. You might recognise Martin – he’s the one who walks us out to the ring wearing the leprechaun outfit on!
However, our main team we follow is Celtic.
PZ: Toughest pro fight so far?
PU: My debut against Dee Mitchell. He was a tough journeymen who many avoided for their first fight. I was originally supposed to fight an easier opponent, but he pulled out, so Dee was the opponent. I’d sold loads of tickets so I didn’t want to let those people down and went ahead. It was a roasting night at the York Hall in July, but thankfully the result was good.
Dee had fought some good opponents, so that gave me a boost to launch me into my pro career.
PZ: You’ve fought twice this year already. When do you look at fighting next?
PU: I’m fighting in three weeks time (April 18th) in Oldham, but my opponent is unconfirmed as yet.
PZ: Tell me a bit more about the team around.
PU: Ricky ‘The Hitman Hatton’ trains us. Mike Jackson is Ricky’s second and a very essential part of the corner, and my strength and conditioning work is done with Rick Moylan, who also works with WBA world champ Scott Quigg.
In the gym, I train with my brothers and also some great boxers such as Sergey Rabchenko.
We all train hard and all motivate each other to be the best. The atmosphere is fantastic.
PZ: How inspirational is it to be trained by Ricky Hatton?
PU: He’s a great role model for us. What he’s achieved in the ring is incredible. Every time we walk into the gym and see him there waiting for us, it still puts a big smile on our faces.
He’s a friend, a trainer and a family member to us. That said – don’t think he’s an easy touch. He pushes us as harder in training than it will actually be in the fight. By the time we step through those ropes, we’ve already won the battle.
PZ: Do you guys all travel up to Manchester?
PU: Ricky’s been able to get us on all at the same time, so that works out well in terms of training camps. Should that change, then we would obviously have to travel up separately (from Romford).
PZ: Your best assets as a boxer?
PU: I’m an all round fighter. I do love to have a bit of a tear up, but I’ve got a good boxing brain. The best is yet to come though.
PZ: Where would you like to be in 12 months time in terms of rankings and titles?
PU: I’m on a six fight per year minimum contract, so this time next year I should in theory be on about 13 fights. If I can keep my unbeaten record intact, I would hope to have fought for an area title, or an Irish title.
PZ: Floyd vs Pac is finally on. Who wins and how?
PU: I think Mayweather wins by unanimous decision. Manny is a peoples person and I’d love to see him win it, but the truth is Mayweather is an unbelievable fighter who has the ability to change his game plan five times in one round.
We asked Ricky (Hatton) who he had to win, as he’s been in there with both. Even though he was only in there for a short time with Manny, he believes Mayweather’s style will overcome him and win it on points.
PZ: Tell the readers one thing about yourself which not many people know.
PU: I can’t play any instruments, but we used to have an ornamental harp in my house as a kid, and I could play the Eastenders theme tune on it!
PZ: Ha! Classic. Maybe you could play that as the ring entrance music to your brothers fights?
PU: Maybe not!
PZ: If you could spar three rounds with any past boxing legend, who would it be?
PU: It would have to be Roberto Duran. I’d love to be in there with someone with that amount of power and aggressive energy.