TYRONE NURSE believes victory in the sold-out Betfair Prizefighter event on Saturday will be the perfect start to a big year for his career.
The Huddersfield 22-year-old takes part in Sky’s Light-Welterweight II Prizefighter bill at Wolverhampton Civic Hall knowing he’s up against the best in the division.
The unbeaten Nurse has clocked up 20 wins since turning pro in 2008, however, and believes the 23rd edition of the eight-man, one night tournament (live on Sky Sports 1, HD1 and in 3D) can be his stepping stone to title fights.
“Winning puts you up there, it puts you into title contention, and it opens more doors in the fact that you become more of a household name,” said Nurse.
“So it helps with your tickets sales, which helps with your promotion, which helps with your promoters. It helps all aspects really.
“I think it’s the right time to take a chance now. At 22, even if I did lose in Prizefighter, which I don’t plan on doing, it isn’t going to set me back too far to be honest.
“The Light-Welterweights is a deep division and there are a lot of fighters in there – and a lot of good fighters – so it could be a big year.”
Nurse, who trains at Chris Aston’s gym in Linthwaite, has benefited from some top-class sparring in the build-up to Saturday’s show, travelling up to Scotland to trade blows with WBO Lightweight champion Ricky Burns, and not for the first time.
“I sparred with him before his title defence against Joseph Laryea in Scotland,” said Nurse.
“You’d be surprised at the quality of the sparring. Because of his style and how he is with his high workrate, it’s as hard as most fights you’ll find yourself in. But it’s good and all that I can do is learn from it.
“I am happy to travel for quality sparring and you earn that by winning titles. It’s no good saying: ‘get me him to spar’.
“When you’re 20-0 have you really earned that? Obviously if you win Prizefighter and then you have a title shot, that’s when you get someone in specifically, and you can afford them then too!”
Nurse’s decision to step it up is not one born of frustration, though.
Nurse has been happy with his steady progression, remaining active and building an impressive fan base.
“I’ve had four or five fights a year since I turned pro at 18,” he explained. “But I knew it was going to be a long, steady process because I was so young at the time. I wasn’t mature like a man, so I just got busy on a lot of smaller shows.
“I suppose constant ticking-over has been the plan, and we did get about a bit, boxing in London, Manchester and Sheffield.
“Recently we’ve had a few closer to home and started to build a nice little fan base. We knew we had time, so it made sense to keep busy, keep ticking over and keep learning.”
Nurse will be up against English Welterweight title-holder Adil Anwar, another unbeaten star Dale Miles, former British champion Barry Morrison and major title challengers Young Mutley, Dean Harrison, Mark Lloyd and John Watson.
“I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s very exciting, the best line-up yet, on paper anyway,” said Nurse. “I’m not fussed who I draw – any of them will do me.
“Maybe we could have a royal rumble. Get us all in there!”