Sheffield boxer Adam Etches gets support from Kell Brook, David Haye and Carl Froch

Adam Etches (right) and Sergey Khomitsky in action during the IBF International Middleweight Championship bout at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield.
Adam Etches (right) and Sergey Khomitsky in action during the IBF International Middleweight Championship bout at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield.
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Three of the biggest names in recent British and world boxing history have rallied round Sheffield fighter Adam Etches, who is re-planning his future after losing his unbeaten record.

Carl Froch and David Haye have both sent goodwill messages to the middleweight, who was stopped by Ukranian Sergey Khomitsky last month.

And Kell Brook was the first to publicly state that his power-puncher pal, whose defences let him down for the first time, will be back.

The ‘Birley Bomber’ revealed: “I had a text off David Haye and a phone call from Carl Froch. I never thought either of them would ring me or text me and thought it was a joke at first.

“But if people like that are contacting me, telling me to keep my chin up, saying: ‘You’ll do it,’ then I know I can do it. I have just got to keep working hard and keep doing what I am doing, improve and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Etches was caught flush in the fourth round - referee Howard Foster stopping the fight.

The fighter said: “I got caught with a couple of shots prior to getting hit with that but I thought I had control of the fight. It was just sloppiness on my behalf.

“I wasn’t thinking about what he’d give back to me. I was just concentrating on trying to hurt him. I leaned into him and left myself open.

“I went down heavy. To be honest, it looked a lot worse than what I was. I am not going to slag the referee but I was in a fit state to carry on.

“When he it me in the first round it hurt me a lot more than the punch that ended the fight. I have to respect the referee’s decision and take it on the chin, literally.”

Etches recognises that to lose your unbeaten tag damages your brand.

“Losing that fight knocked me back 12 months, it is going to take me longer to get to where I want to be” said the 24 year old.

“If I’d have won in, who knows, I might have been a world champion in 12 months time? But the doors will be more open for me now - more people are going to want to fight me because they will think I am vulnerable. They’ll think I can be beat or I haven’t got a chin.

“Fine! I know I wasn’t hurt and that will play into my hands and if someone wasn’t to come and have a fight that will work well in my favour.

“I always thought that whoever I hit, they’d had it. They’d be in trouble. Whether it was Mike Tyson, or whoever. But from now my first thought is: Don’t get hit!”

Etches says he wants to be out again as soon as possible. “I want to put this defeat to bed. Ideally I’d like to have a re-match. But whether I can get one or not, that’s another thing.”