Diego Costa to fight Hartlepool/Horden boxer Greg O’Neil

Boxer Greg O'Neil.
Boxer Greg O'Neil.

Hartlepool boxers Greg O’Neil and Jordan Ellison face their toughest nights in the boxing ring in Manchester this weekend.

Hartlepool boxers Greg O’Neil and Jordan Ellison face their toughest nights in the boxing ring in Manchester this weekend.

Both Gus Robinson Developments boxers take on unbeaten Manchester fighters at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre.

O’Neil takes on Diego Costa - not the Chelsea striker though this particular Brazilian is just as adept at landing a knock-out blow.

And ‘Real Deal’ O’Neil’s old Horden Sportsman ABC team-mate Ellison has his hands full against the gifted super-featherweight Zelfa Barrett who is looking for his 18th straight victory.

It all adds up to a demanding assignment but Gus Robinson Developments head coach, Peter Cope, says he and his boxers are up for it.

“There is no doubt we have our work cut out,” said Cope. “But both our lads are fit and I’ve got total confidence in them.”

Costa is new to pro boxing but announced his arrrival with a debut first-round KO of unbeaten Lancashire lad Craig Bunn.

“This is a bit of a step into the unknown,” said Cope. “We know little about Costa apart from we think he has an MMA background.

“He can obviously bang and [his trainer] Oliver Harrison does not take on bad boxers.

“But Greg always has a chance, if it turns into a slugfest, he’s as good as anyone.”

While super-middleweight O’Neil has a four-round sprint, Elllison faces a difficult marathon against Barrett over 10 rounds.

Zelfa is the nephew of Pat Barrett, the former British and European champ, whose Black Flash Promotions stage Saturday’s show.

“It’s a very hard bout, Zelfa’s really good,” explained Cope. “But Jordan, as he has proven in his time with us, is no respector of reputations and records.

“He’ll travel and he’ll fight anyone and he’s beaten a lot of unbeaten kids or hometown prospects.

“He took on a world title challenger not that many contests back, he has a great mentality.”