It’s a tough fight to get from the operating table to the boxing ring in a bid to become the first boxing world champion with an artificial hip.
And there’s one man who knows that better than most – the Sheffield surgeon who carried out Johnny Nelson’s hip operation.
Prof Ian Stockley performed the surgery at Sheffield’s BMI Thornbury Hospital in Ranmoor in June last year. And Nelson, aged 48, was back in the gym within weeks.
Now Nelson is preparing to fight reigning WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck for the WBO title that the Sheffield man had successfully defended a record 13 times. If he wins, he will also stop Huck from breaking the record.
Prof Stockley said: “If Johnny is confident that, as a boxer, he has what it takes to win back the title then I, as an orthopaedic surgeon, have every confidence that his new hip will certainly go the distance.
“I’m the first to admit that Johnny’s is a somewhat extreme case and I was surprised when he told me he was planning a comeback but there is no reason why he shouldn’t – the hip certainly won’t be a problem.
“Johnny’s recovery has been impressive to say the least, it would be great for him and for the sport if he could crown his sparkling career with one more world championship win. If the fight does go ahead I’m hoping that I might get my hands on a front row ticket!”
Nelson had the surgery after his hip had been bothering him for a number of years.
He said: “I had a fight planned when injury forced me to retire. It all ended too abruptly for me.
“Once I had my hip replacement I started to really get my fitness back, I was feeling really confident and I realised I was ‘missing the ring’.”
When he watched Huck’s last fight, Nelson found himself thinking, ‘I could do him’.
The Sky TV presenter said: “I wasn’t boasting – I meant it, and I still do. I really think I could knock him out.”
A date is yet to be set for the fight.