Mates from football and rugby league will be backing Tyrone Nurse to retain his British boxing title

The 26-year-old Huddersfield champion, who defends the light-welterweight Lonsdale Belt against Hull’s Tommy Coyle in Leeds on Saturday night, has a number of old school chums doing well in sport.

He went to South Crosland junior school, because he was living in Netherton at the time, and then Newsome High.

And his contemporaries include Huddersfield Giants stars Leroy Cudjoe and Michael Lawrence, plus former Huddersfield Town players Joe Skarz and Lucas Akins.

Nurse will be backed by at least a couple of hundred fans from Huddersfield on the big Josh Warrington Sky TV bill, when he’s hoping to make a second successful defence.

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“I’m not a massive fan of other sports because boxing takes up most of my life, but I went to school with Leroy Cudjoe, Michael Lawrence, Joe Skarz and Lucas Akins, so I’m familiar with quite a few other athletes,” said Nurse, whose own sporting heroes include American boxers Roy Jones Jnr and Floyd Mayweather.

“I keep track of what they are doing and how things are going for them, but I wouldn’t say I really look at other sports that much.

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“Away from boxing, I spend a lot of time with my family and it’s great.

“As a boxer, my work schedule is so different to a regular job that whenever I’m free, my mates aren’t, so I tend to spend a lot of time alone or, now, with my little daughter Penelope.”

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Nurse has been sticking to a strict training and diet regime to make the weight for his showdown with Coyle, and he reckons he’s in tip-top shape.

The focus on the fight has been intensifying, so social engagements have been few and far between.

“You do have to pick and choose what you do,” explained the Linthwaite-based technician.

“I’m not in the gym 24 hours a day, obviously, but you don’t want to be out in the hot weather when you’re in training for a fight, not being able to drink and eat as much as your body wants.

“You just end up getting over-heated, so you have to be sensible.

“It’s the same when friends are wanting to go out for meals at weekends and the like – sometimes it’s feasible and sometimes it isn’t, so you just have to do the right things at the right times.”