Joe Jenkins, from Arbourthorne, was a talented amateur who beat Tokyo silver medallist Ben Whittaker in his teens but turned his back on the sport when a controversial decision went against him.
The 24-year-old and his partner Isabelle then had two children – Primrose, five, and one-year-old Roman – before he decided to make a comeback, or live to regret it.
He blew off the cobwebs in style in front of more than 1,000 people at the Magna Centre on Friday, 11 March.
"It was mint,” Joe told The Star.
"The whole occasion was good from the build-up to the ring walk and fighting. Winning was even better.”
Joe’s childhood friend Dalton Smith, who is one of the country’s most promising young boxers and a former GB team-mate of Whittaker’s, had some advice for his long-time pal before the first bell.
"You could see there was a lot of pressure and nerves on him,” said Dalton.
"I said, ‘look, it’s nothing you haven’t done before. You are a talented fighter’.
"He showed his quality and why everyone always talks about him because he’s a fighter’s fighter.”
Joe’s impressive display earned him the ‘fight of the night’ award and £1,000 cash on top of the money he’d already made from ticket sales.
The landscape gardener by day also left an impression on his vastly experienced opponent, journeyman Fonz Alexander, who has boxed almost 600 rounds as a professional.
"He said to me out of all his fights there’s only ever a handful of people that have really made him work and I was one them,” revealed Joe.
Joe hopes to be back in the ring in May – and promised to put his bonus towards a mortgage.
Dalton said of his friend since the age of seven: “He’s got time on his side and no reason to rush anything.
"For Joe now it’s about getting that ring rust off.
“It’s a shame he stepped away from boxing. I always said to him ‘it would be a shame if you didn’t get back into the ring’.
“I’ll always be there to support Joe.”