By Ian Aldous: Even though he’s only one punch away from claiming the 175lbs Commonwealth crown, Dec Spelman (16-3) never expected to be in this position. His boxing journey began with a high probability of undertaking the role of a journeyman traveling to other fighters’ home towns. “At the start, I was planning on going on the road,” the former English light-heavyweight champion said.
It was manager, trainer, and promoter Carl Greaves who told Spelman to see how things go and not rush into a premature career-defining decision. Just a few fights into his career, and things were going smoothly. “It was always a gamble coming from a small town. I got that Chris Nixon knockout, and it went viral. From then on, it was 100, 120, 140 tickets. It’s paid off.”
The momentum continued, and the fan-favorite has made Greaves immensely proud of everything they’ve achieved so far. “I managed to win the purse bids, and he fought the English champion, Kirk Garvey, at Baths Hall and did 450 tickets. It was absolutely packed,” Greaves told me. “There was about 1,000 in there. We’ve had some great times. He got to the Ultimate Boxxer final, (has been) English champion, he’s been on Sky, on Channel 5, BT Sport, Spike, and BT again with this. It’s been fantastic.”
Now, attention turns to the undefeated champion, Lyndon Arthur (16-0), with the likelihood of a blockbuster clash against Anthony Yarde awaiting the victor. Dec has traveled a bumpy road to get the fight he wanted finally. “It was first on a while ago, or so we were aware. It was on; it was off, it was on, it was off. Then the Yarde fight got mentioned (Arthur was set to face Anthony Yarde), and we thought the fight had gone, to be honest. I was coming off the back of the (Shakan) Pitters’ fight, and I got offered Dan Azeez. I got injured and did my back. I got back to the gym, and Carl said: ‘Something will come’. We went into lockdown and stayed sharp, and I said I’ll box in the away corner. I just wanted something big, and this Lyndon Arthur fight popped up again because Yarde didn’t want to fight behind closed doors or whatever the situation was there.”
A win will not only earn the twenty-eight-year-old the Commonwealth crown; it could lead to the aforementioned domestic dust-up and big payday versus Yarde. “Yeah, there is talk about that,” Spelman explained. “It’ll depend on what Frank Warren wants to do. It’s a fight I want, and I honestly believe it’ll be a really good fight (laughs) because I won’t be running from him. The power don’t scare me.”
Prior to any complacent thoughts of looking beyond Arthur, 100% concentration will be utilized in camp for the July 31st behind closed doors title fight. The defending champion from Manchester believes that Spelman hasn’t been in with anyone who hits as hard as Arthur. “I don’t agree with that. I could be wrong. I think if I’d been in there with what he’s been in with, I’d have knocked them out in exactly the same fashion.”
‘Kid Nytro’, as he’s affectionately known to his huge fanbase in Scunthorpe, signed a contract extension with Carl Greaves just before the fight was officially announced. “We’ve only really had four and a half weeks notice for it, which isn’t ideal, but it’s all he’s (Arthur) had as well,” Greaves divulged. “They’ve both been ticking over because I’ve heard Lyndon’s interviews as well. It’s made for a great fight, but on the back of what we saw in Lyndon’s Commonwealth title victory – I’m very confident. Dec’s a completely different level to the kid he won the Commonwealth title against, and he gave him all sorts of trouble. I’m really confident.”
Spelman is a pugilist happy to punch above his weight. He trains around his job as a scaffolder, and his dedication to the sport is clear to witness when observing him in Greaves’ Newark gym. From humble beginnings and little expectation, it’s obvious he’s content with all he has achieved to date. “Yeah, massively. But, I’ve got to the stage now, I believe I should be in with kids like Lyndon Arthur and people like that. I think I’ve proven that beating Kirk Garvey and in Ultimate Boxxer sharing the ring with (and beating) Joel McIntyre. I’ve been ten rounds three times now. I’ve got a lot of experience now, and I look at the top ten, and I think I should be involved in that.”
Frank Warren’s third summer show of five, live on BT Sport, will be headlined by a clash for the Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Championship between champ Lyndon Arthur and challenger Dec Spelman.