Northampton bantamweight Nathan Reeve insists he never lost his love for boxing despite a four-year exile from the sport.
Reeve has not boxed since losing on points to Louis Norman in 2013. But it was injury problems, rather than that defeat, which have sidelined him since.
Ahead of his comeback on BCB Promotions’ Friday Night Lights show at The Deco in Northampton this week, he said: “It’s been a long time – a lot longer than I thought. It wasn’t planned and it’s been very frustrating.
“I had lots of hand problems early on in my pro career, which needed a lot of injections, treatment etc. After my last fight it was really bad, plus I had an Achilles tendon problem. Because of that, I couldn’t even run or hit the bags or anything. I was part-time at university then, so I decided to concentrate on that, get it finished and then come back to boxing.
“So I finished my physio, finished uni, went back to training and found I still had hand problems. I saw specialists and they all said it needed more rest. I carried on running though and I was so fit. But as soon as I went back into the gym and hit a bag, I injured myself again. This went on for another year.
“At one point I doubted if I’d ever be able to make it back. But slowly I got myself back in condition.
“I saw another specialist and slowly but surely my hands are fine.
“I never lost the love for boxing. A lot of lads around Northampton are doing brilliantly in the pro circuit and it made me miss it. It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to get back to it. I don’t do anything half-heartedly and boxing is the last thing you can afford to do by halves.”
‘Thunder’, who takes on Craig Derbyshire tomorrow, spent his time his time away from the ring wisely, however.
“It’s been a difficult time. I tried other things to fill the void, like voluntary work in the community, part-time university studies, work. I found a passion for travelling and went to seven different countries such as Thailand, Italy and Hungary.
“It’s left me feeling refreshed – and very hungry.”
Joining Reeve on the Deco bill is a host of local talent.
The Felix brothers – Dominic and Curtis – are both in action alongside Kieron Conway, Jamie Spence and Drew Brown.
The Felix brothers takes on Lithuania’s Remigijus Ziausys and Plymouth’s Chris Adaway respectively. Conway takes on fellow Plymouth scrapper, Cristian Hoskin-Gomez, with Spence matched with Melksham’s Liam Richards and Brown set to face namesake Rob Brown from Nuneaton.
Tickets for ‘Friday Night Lights, sponsored by Grosvenor Casino Northampton, ’ are £30 standard unreserved seating (£40 on the door), £45 Front Tier Stalls and £50 Ringside Tables with Buffet. They are available by calling 07909 442 443.
The weigh-in takes place at Grosvenor Casino Northampton, Regent Street, Northampton, NN1 2LA at 5.00pm tomorrow.
Doors open at The Deco (Abington Square, Northampton, NN1 4AE) at 6:30pm with boxing commencing at 7:30pm.