SEASONED York boxer Graham Fearn will be smack in the middle of British boxing’s most anticipated comeback.
The York ring warrior is on the under-card of tonight’s televised return to the ring after a three-year absence of Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton.
And while Fearn’s clash has not got the kudos of Hatton’s comeback, the New Earswick lightweight will have a tough nut to crack in the form of Scott “Hotshot” Jenkins.
Fearn is now in his fourth year as a pro after stunning the boxing world by leaving the amateur ranks he graced for nigh on two decades to go into the full-time fight game at the age of 33.
Now aged 37, he is still full of gung-ho go and was eagerly savouring his duel in front of a sell-out 21,000 crowd at the Manchester Aena.
“With Ricky back it should be one of the most electrifying nights of the year for British boxing,” said Fearn, who combines a gruelling training regime and bouts with his day job as a shift worker on the production line at Nestlé Rowntree.
“At my age now I’m not fazed by anything. I’ve seen it all before and I’m going to give it all my best tonight,” he said ahead of his lightweight contest scheduled over six three-minute rounds against Sheffield-born Jenkins, who is managed by main attraction Hatton.
“The lad I’m fighting is very sharp and has a solid record of six fights and six wins.
“But I’ve been in there at the Manchester Arena before, and against the best when I fought Frankie Gavin, so I’m really looking forward to the fight.”
It was back in late 2007 when Fearn grew so disillusioned with not being able to get enough fights as an amateur, that he opted to try his gloved hands at the professional game.
Since then he has been constantly busy and even realised a long-held dream when he fought as a pro in York in 2011.
Meanwhile, headliner Hatton is hopeful his tale of personal redemption has unified fans and critics alike ahead of his boxing return.
Hatton last stepped through the ropes three and a half years ago, when a two-round demolition inflicted by superstar Manny Pacquiao left him brutally knocked out and mentally shattered.
A well-documented struggle with drink, drugs and weight gain followed and, as his once-close family ties broke down amid the strain, the 34-year-old’s thoughts turned darkly towards suicide.
But since the itch to embark upon a ring return, Hatton has painstakingly shed almost four and a half stone while based at his own Hyde gym under the watchful eye of veteran trainer Bob Shannon.
As with the excess poundage, the psychological demons have seemingly melted away and the former two-weight world champion is eyeing another memorable triumph against Ukrainian welterweight Vyacheslav Senchenko before an adoring home crowd.