Norwich’s Nathan Dale makes a winning return to ring in Essex

Nathan Dale, left, on his way to victory over James Gorman at the Braintree Leisure Centre. Photo:

Nathan Dale, left, on his way to victory over James Gorman at the Braintree Leisure Centre. Photo: Jerry Daws/ - Credit: Jerry Daws /

A new-look Nathan Dale eased his way back into the boxing ring after a 15-month absence – thanks in no small part to an old friend.

Dale showed few signs of ring rust as he cruised to a six-round points win over the durable Northern Irishman James Gorman as the promoters took the Norwich shows on the road to Braintree in Essex on Saturday.

The power and the speed were both there – hardly surprising that his sparring partner in recent weeks has been stablemate and British and Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Liam Walsh. There was evidence, too, of Dale trying a few Walsh tactics – the straight jabs to the torso and the hurtful body punches, as well as a piston-like left jab that kept Gorman honest.

'It was nice to get out there in front of everyone and do a job. The hand is a little bit bruised but that is part of the job. There is no injury there so I am happy to go and fight next week if needed. The hand passed the test with flying colours – I hit him with it a couple of times, head and body shots, and he took them well.

'But there was no pressure on me – I just enjoyed it. Fair play to him, he was a nice guy; we knew it was going to be that sort of fight. I threw everything I knew was enough – the body shots were working, I couldn't miss with the jab, so it was a plus.'

Dale's previous fight was in February last year, but major hand surgery was needed to solve a long-standing problem: however, ring rust was never an issue.

'That had gone already,' he said. 'I was with Liam in Tenerife for two weeks and I can't thank him enough because it helped so much. It doesn't get any better than sparring with someone of Liam quality.'

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Dale is likely to fight again in Norwich in July 15 before stepping it up in a bid to get in the domestic mix as he bids to become the third British champion in the Kickstop Gym after Liam Walsh and twin Ryan Walsh.

Trainer Graham Everett said: 'I'm really pleased with Nathan – the whole point of him fighting in Braintree was to get him active again, but I thought he looked very, very good, very sharp, and he showed a great array of punches – he looked comfortable and happy.

'Gorman is a very experienced opponent and he said to Nathan afterwards, 'you are a special kid', so that is a nice compliment from a good, experienced tough man.

'There is plenty left in Nathan's tank so it is on to the next one and that really is time – we will start calling the shots.'

Fellow Norwich boxer Zaiphan Morris opened proceedings with his first fight outside of Norwich, beating Luke Fash 40:37 over four rounds. It developed into an entertaining tear-up, but Morris showed the class to run out a deserved winner.

Sudbury's Billy Bird topped the bill, edging a cracker against Evaldas Korsakas to claim the British Classic Challenge belt in the light middleweight division. Korsakas was down twice in a superb third round by Bird, but could have nicked it in the fourth, with Bird having to prove he can take a punch as well as land one.

Punch of the night was thrown by Clacton's Joe Hurn: a right had opponent Casey Blair tottering and the uppercut that followed ended it after 90 seconds; thankfully, after treatment he walked away with a rueful smile.

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