Sheffield fighter must live a life on the breadline

John Fewkes at Sheffield Boxing Centre yesterday
John Fewkes at Sheffield Boxing Centre yesterday
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JOHN FEWKES is having to take it on the chin.

“If you see someone shuffling along the reduced aisle at Morrison’s in Sheffield, looking for half-price salmon, it’ll be me” laughs Fewkes.

He can crack a joke, but life on a breadline is a reality for the Norfolk Park born welterweight, who only a few years ago was one of the biggest ticket-sellers in Sheffield, with a sponsored car and a profile on Sky Sports.

Fewkes fell out with the sport though and went working on the tarmac. But after two and a half years out, Fewkes returned to give boxing another shot. And that means watching every penny and relying on his parents and girlfriend Maddy.

“I put money by when I was working, so I’ve been dipping into that” he said. “But Maddy and my parents have been good to me while I give this a go. Maddy bought me some new clothes for Christmas - I haven’t had any new trainers or jeans for about 18 months, so if it wasn’t for her I’d be walking around like Subway Cyril!”

Fewkes, 27,lives in Oughtibridge, but sometimes runs to Glyn Rhodes’ gym in Hillsborough to save petrol money. And he has to put a few quid away to make the trip to Woodlands gym, in Dronfield, for conditioning training with triathlete Matt Sanderson.

“I’ve got to live within my means but I’m happier now I’m back boxing” he said. “My Mum has a list of everything I owe her; it’s like the Declaration of Independence or one of those Andrex rolls that goes on forever. But if I end up being British champion, it will be worth it.”

Fewkes continues his comeback on Friday, at iceSheffield, against Lancastrian William Warburton. “I feel I’ve still got the tools for the job” he said. “But that is the million dollar question that is about to be answered. People talk about when I was at my peak and I think physically it was probably when I fought (Bulgarian) Toncho Tonchev (2007.)

“But my real peak has yet to come. I have more strength now and Sandy at Woodlands has helped me with nutrition. As long as my grub is from the reduced aisle!”

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