fighter Stuart Brookes has decided the time’s right to make an emotional return to boxing, three years after his brother, Scott, died.
Scott, a promising cruiserweight, died after colliding with a car as he walked along Rowms Lane in Swinton in 2008 aged just 20.
Two weeks earlier, middleweight Stuart had won his 11th straight contest as a professional. But understandably boxing took a backseat and this is the first time he’s been back training seriously since.
Mexborough-born Stuart, aged 28, has also had to contend with the subsequent break-up of his parents, but he now feels ready to re-enter the sport he loves.
He told The Star: “I’ve had plenty of time to get my head clear and to address the personal problems in my life. When your heart isn’t in it, I don’t think you should be in the gym because it’s such a dangerous sport.
“When something that tragic happens in your family, you can’t find the strength to go on any more.
“It’s hard work, especially when your family is crumbling all around you. But I know now that I’m more focused than I’ve ever been before and I’ll be ready to fight again in November.”
Brookes is training with Stefy Bull and Dave Hulley at the Empress Ballroom Gym, and is all set to feature on his new stablemates’ show on November 4.
“I’ve known Stefy since I was about 15,” said Brookes. “I used to come down to the gym and spar with him and he used to give me black eyes.
“It’s a really good camp and the gym is buzzing at the minute.
“I’ve missed all the banter with the lads and it’s the right place for me to be.”
The passing of Brookes’ former amateur trainer, Eric Walker, means that the boxer will be honouring two people when he returns.
“I’d like to dedicate my next title to Eric,” he said. “I want a title and when I get one it’ll be for Eric and obviously my brother. I know that would make them happy and it would make me stronger.”
Trainer Bull is delighted to be working with Stuart.
He said: “I can tell he’s focussed on boxing and that’s good for us because he’s a very good fighter.”