Ginger Ali hangs up boxing gloves

Motivation: John Fewkes says discipline was 'killing' him.
Motivation: John Fewkes says discipline was 'killing' him.
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John ‘Fireball’ Fewkes - one of the biggest ticket sellers in Sheffield boxing - has retired from the ring aged just 25.

The Norfolk Park scrapper has battled with weight issues for some time and, at just 5ft 6ins tall, feels he can’t make the same impact at welterweight as he did at light welter and light weight.

‘Fewky’ who won the English lightweight title in 2008 has boxed just once since as he struggled to “live the life” elite athletes must observe.

He quits the sport with a Won 19, Lost 1, Drawn 1 record,

Fewkes told The Star: “I have been thinking about this for a long time and the problem is that I cannot motivate myself to do all the things I’d have to do to be successful.

“You have to commit 110 per cent and I was having to force myself to do that. I have been boxing since I was 11 years old and felt that is what I had to do - but it’s not all I want to do with my life. In the last two years I have only had two fights and should have been knocking on Glyn’s (Rhodes’ trainer) door for more. But I wasn’t and that tells its own story,

“To get to the weight I needed to be I sometimes had to train in the gym and do three runs a day. Boxing demands absolute discipline but this was killing me. While you never show it publicly, behind the scenes there were a lot of bad times.

“I just wasn’t happy, I thought it through. I spoke to Richard Poxon (Hatton promoters match-maker) and he knew that if my heart was not in it, it was pointless carrying on. The time had come to move on to something else.”

Fewkes, whose fans called him “Fireball or Ginger Ali” now plans to become an amateur trainer, working towards eventual professional status. “In 10 years time, it will be either the worst decision I have made and I am established as a trainer and doing what I want to do.

“Perhaps in a few years time, when Glyn is 75, I can take over his gym!

“I still love the sport and being in the gym, but while as before I put all my eggs in one basket, now I want to go to college and learn other things. I want a smile on my face and that wasn’t always possible when I was trying to be a pro boxer.”