BOXING history is littered with examples of fighters who retire, come back..and then wish they hadn’t.
Ricky Hatton’s astonishing decision to return to the ring last year exploded in his face.
And there were fears for Sheffield’s own John Fewkes, when he declared his intention to re-start his career.
Fewkes’ weight had ballooned after announcing he was hanging up his gloves in the middle of 2010.
At 5ft 8ins tall, the former lightweight didn’t look like he could ever return and meet the 10st 7lbs welterweight limit.
But he shed the pounds and “dipped his toe in the water” against Steve Spence at Barnsley Metrodome last December to record a points win.
‘Fireball’ Fewkes (won 20 KO 2 lost 1 drawn 1) was bitten by the bug again and fights in his home city on Friday, for the first time since 2009.
IceSheffield is the venue for his contest with Lancashire welter William Warburton.
Sheffielders who used to follow Fewkes’ career in large numbers will be wondering if he has still got what it takes, both in fitness and attitude. But trainer Glyn Rhodes has no such concerns.
“He is as good as when he was at his peak around the time he fought for the English title (2008) - probably better because, at 27, he has matured so much” said Rhodes.
“He has always been elusive boxer and difficult to hit, now he is even smarter - a really good defensive boxer.
“I watched him sparring a couple of days ago with Carl Wild (light heavy) and Jez Wilson (middle) and he competed well and is really fit again, mainly because of the healthy rivalry we have going in the gym.
“Fewky is probably kicking himself that Martin Gethin, who beat him for the English title, went on to become British champion.
“He could have been that, and he still could be now. John has got a great boxing brain and has the priceless ability of being able to adapt to any opponent.”
Warburton was beaten in November - but only on points over six rounds - by Rotherham’s Chad Gaynor, who spars with Kell Brook.
So Fewkes, 27, of Oughtibridge, who is rated by some as number 10 at light middleweight in Britain despite his lack of activity, will want to put on a decent performance against Warburton, 25, and go further up the rankings.
“And area or English title is not much good now for Fewky, he needs a British title. It would be a good fight if we could organise him against Gaynor, I think he would beat him.”
Wilson, the 33-year-old firefighter from Crosspool, is also in action on Friday’s bill. He faces Welshman Taz Jones.
Wilson aims to add the vacant British Masters Gold middleweight title to the area title he won whilst beating Liam Cameron last June.
n IceSheffield tickets: 0114 2233900 or 07747070783