John Fewkes has a message for the young boxers he trains: “Do as I say, not what I did.”
The one-time English title contender quit the sport too soon because of lifestyle issues.
He has a lot of regrets...but is now using them to convince young prospects to live a healthier lifestyle.
“I messed up” Fewkes admits. “I was not shy of a pie and a pint or two when I was training so I went from boxing at 10 stone to walking around at 15 and a half stone.”
‘Fireball’ Fewkes ‘retired’ twice in his 25-fight career, once in his early 20s, returning to campaign until he was 28, before finally packing it in.
“I left too early” says the former lightweight, who now runs the Dennis Hobson/Sheffield Boxing Centre gym in Gleadless.
“I have been in this sport for 21 years now , a pro for over ten years, amateur for nine, there was a lot of stuff I did right and I can pass that on, but I can also tell them what I did wrong.”
Times have moved on in boxing, no real strength and conditioning and sports science for lower and mid-level fighters 10 years ago, the 32-year-old said.
“My sport science was a tin of tuna when I was tarmacing rather than a bacon sandwich. But then I had a bacon sandwich after!”
Fewkes last fight was three years ago, this month, and to a degree Fewkes feels he “threw away” his fight career. He fell out of love with the sport and reached the stage where he couldn’t even watch it on TV.
“I was envious of people doing well. Kell (Brook) is really good mate but I couldn’t watch him, it was really too much.”
But tried his hand at training and now has an opportunity to develop youngsters in the Gleadless area.
He thinks he may be a better trainer than he was a boxer, despite his W21 L2 D2 record.
“I always read a game well I knew what to do, it was just putting it into practice, for me. I am better teaching the sport than doing it myself.”