By Steven Donnell
So I had been invited out to Billy Nelson’s gym in Airdrie to catch up with David Brophy before he heads out to Australia to fight Zac Dunn for the Commonwealth title and watch him spar with a Brazilian lad called Diego, whom David described to me as “one tough guy”. We also got to catch up with Stephen Simmons and Gary Cornish and both looked in fantastic shape.
In the gym you get the feeling this is one close stable; made up by a group who you can tell enjoy each others company. As the lads are getting ready there is a lot of laughter and storytelling. We were even treated to three jokes by Billy – the same three jokes he tells anyone new in the gym, according to Gary Cornish, and even then he still managed to mess one up.
Then Billy’s tone changes ever so slightly and the laughter stops as these lads get ready to go to work. After watching David look really impressive in sparring against a very tricky partner we got our chance to sit down for a chat and a Q and A session.
So David how are the preparations going for the fight?
“Aye it’s going well, the training has went as planned, I’m feeling sharper every day. The sparring is going well, the running is going well and there’s been a great atmosphere in the gym so I’m really enjoying this camp and I’m looking forward to getting over there, getting away from this weather and doing a job over here.”
Zac Dunn has a bit of a reputation as a puncher, does that worry you or do you think his power is a bit overrated?
“It doesn’t worry me, I’m going over there and there’s a ring there – a fight’s a fight. We have got to deal with this the right way. He is powerful and he is fit but he’s beatable. We will get our tactics spot on, the preparation in the gym is going according to plan for this fight.”
I saw on twitter last week you had Liam Williams up for sparring. Preparation doesn’t get much better than that does it?
“Liam is a good friend of mine, we have helped each other out with sparring loads of times before. He has the biggest fight of his life coming up against Liam Smith, which is going to be a cracker. So he comes up and I go to Cardiff sometimes and we have a great relationship that way and he was great sparring. Liam was here for three days so we got an eight-rounder and 10 rounds of sparring in so it was great preparation. You couldn’t get any better than that.”
I notice with Billy Nelson and yourself on Twitter yous go at it, no holds barred. Do you find it hard to separate Billy the mate from Billy the cornerman?
“We know there is a fine line between that, but I’ve known Billy for seven years now unfortunately. We’ve got a good relationship inside and outside the gym but it’s two very different relationships. Billy has done a lot for me inside and outside the gym and we do know when to change it. It is only banter on Twitter.”
With the wealth in knowledge Billy has it must give you confidence to go over there and get talked through any changes that might need made?
“Billy has been in these situations loads of times, world title fights everywhere with Scott Harrison and Ricky Burns so I couldn’t ask for any more experience to take over there with me. It’s worked up until now but we do have a long way to go on our journey.”
Powerful: Brophy has been winning at the lower levels and is ready to step up again
We also had time to ask David his thoughts on the George Groves fight.
The Last time I saw you, you were training hard to fight George Groves in the bright light lights of London. How was that experience?
“It was good in terms of experience but it wasn’t good what happened [Brophy was stopped by Groves in round four]. Don’t get me wrong if I get offered that fight again tomorrow for no money I would take it because that experience is priceless to have. It never went our way last time, it was bad, it’s the loneliest shower I’ve ever had. I got things wrong although I wasn’t nervous before the fight. Maybe the big stage did overcome me a little bit.”
Steven and the Asylum would like to thank all the MTK lads and Billy for having us down. It really was an education watching these guys.
Watch: The excellent video of the interview in full
Follow Steven Donnell on Twitter @dinobhoy86 @Djayboxingblog
Photograph Credits: Sean McNally