Over seven years have elapsed since Blackpool boxer, Jeff Thomas, 11-7-3(1), last laced up the leather and stepped into a professional boxing ring.
That night was at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, on the Brian Rose – Vivian Harris undercard, Thomas besting Andrew Patterson on points over four rounds; also appearing on that night in October 2012 were the likes of Jazza Dickens, Scotty Cardle, Adam Little and Matty Askin.
It was to be the 21st, and at the time, last, professional contest of Thomas’ then eleven year pro career, until now that is.
On March 14, at the Municipal Hall in Colne, Lancashire, the now welterweight boxer, he was a few weight’s heavier back in the day, will step between the ropes and face Hyde journeyman, Dale Arrowsmith, 2-36-1(1), again over four rounds (at middleweight), but returns with a goal in mind.
Jeff Thomas is gunning for, at least, the Central Area welterweight strap, presently held by undefeated Doncaster fighter, Lewis Booth, 12-0.
Booth gained the Area title with a points win over fellow Yorkshireman, Tom Young, last month and is a young, energetic fighter, much like Thomas’ opponent on the fourteenth, the Blackpool star insistent that, although he’s not looking past Arrowsmith, there is a two year plan in place.
“I’ve given myself two more years in the sport as I don’t really want to be fighting past forty,” explained Jeff.
“I want to be realistic in what I’ve got left and yes, I do want that Area title, I always have done, you just need a little bit of luck.
“But, make no mistake, I’m not looking past Arrowsmith either; he’s due a win and they’ll be looking at me as opportunity to do that, maybe cause the upset in doing so.
“However, I’m more than ready for what they throw at me and I’m more than happy to stand there and trade with him if that’s how he wants to do it.”
Thomas, albeit not having fought professionally for some time, has kept himself in with the sport, coaching a few Blackpool fighters, as well taking in a few white collar shows, last year stopping a couple of ex pros as the bug continued to fester.
“Dale is a talented lad, we know that, and we already know quite a bit about him as well but I’ve got nothing to protect when I go back in there, no unbeaten record, I just want to see what happens, what I’m capable of,” he added.
“Training though has been really good and I’ll have Kevin Maree and Antony Smith in my corner as always.
“This time though, I’ve done a lot of it myself, other than fitness sessions at the Hard Knocks Gym in Poulton-le-Fylde with Chris Daniels. It’s how I was training last year, by myself, and I found it all quite empowering really – other fighters should try it it.
“I had offers of assistance (when announcing my comeback) but I’m sticking to what I’ve known myself for years.”
Years it has been as well for the 38-year-old, Thomas admitting that “it’s quite cool really” to know he’ll have boxed in four different decades, the nineties as an amateur, then through the noughties, tens, and soon to be twenties as a pro.
But what did call him back to the paid ranks, other than a run for the Central Area title.
“It’s simple really, I just found myself feeling down a lot,” admitted Jeff.
“I’ve always been an active person but found I had nowhere to channel all that energy.
“I was doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to a high level, but it wasn’t the same, and boxing is the passion; it takes priority and kind of hides you away from the things that upset you.
“Now, I just want to take those negatives, and turn them into positives, and I can’t wait to get back in there, and just see what happens.”
The fight card for the Colne show is as follows – Jack McGann vs. Rafael Chiruta (8 rounds), Casey Connelly vs. Jermaine Soringer (6 rounds), Danny Whittaker vs. Dorian Darch (4 rounds), Michael Gomez Jnr vs. Pablo Navaez (4 rounds), Jeff Thomas vs. Dale Arrowsmith (4 rounds), and Dan Catlin vs. Kristaps Zulgis (4 rounds).
Frank Duffin and Maree Boxing presents An Evening of Professional Boxing at the Municipal Hall, Colne, on Saturday 14 March 2020. Tickets are available from the fighters priced £30 (balcony) and £40 (ringside) with doors at 5:45pm, first bell at 6:30pm.