Sheffield giant Richard Towers can take a leaf out of Johnny Nelson’s book - and “conquer his demons” - says trainer Dominic Ingle.
Twelve days ago, Towers was bludgeoned into the ropes in a humiliating end to both his unbeaten tag and his hopes of a crack at the Commonwealth title. Towers’s facial expressions made him look intimidated at times against roughhouse Aussie opponent Lucas Browne, although Ingle believes it was Towers’ inability to stick to the game plan that ultimately cost him.
The trainer said: “Richard was kicking himself after the fight- he was gutted. Browne isn’t the fittest fighter in the world and the plan was to keep him long on the jab and frustrate him for four rounds before taking it to him. Browne had a weight advantage so we didn’t want a war with him.”
Ingle says the plan was working until Towers lost concentration and allowed himself to be caught on the ropes. Maybe the pressure and tension of the event got to Richard” he said.
“His eyes might have been wide, but that is often to do with the adrenaline pumping as you go into ‘flight or fight’ mode.
“But, yes, maybe Richard has to address his demons, in the way Johnny Nelson conquered his, so successfully.”
Nelson lost 12 fights in his career, including his first three. and in one 11 bout stretch between 1992-5, he was beaten seven times. But in 1999 he became WBO cruiserweight king and was undefeated until his retirement in 2005. “I was never a hard man, I was a coward” Nelson, once said.
Ingle said: “A lot of fighters have some fear in then, it is how you handle it. The psychological side is important, as every fighter loses to people they shouldn’t do - Mike Tyson to Buster Douglas, Lennox Lewis to Hasim Rahman. Nobody is invincible. It is when the mental switch turns off, sometimes.
“People used to ask why we bothered with Johnny. But he learned how to deal with things, and look what he went on to achieve.”
But he said the 6ft 8ins boxer still had admirers, including Adam Booth, trainer of David Haye. “There are things to work on, but we’ll have him out again around February” added Ingle.
*Another city heavyweight, David Howe boxes at iceSheffield on December 13.