BOXING: Gareth savours every last minute of ring career
GARETH Heard has done more damage to himself than he’s sustained inside the ropes recently, but the Bradford on Avon welterweight views any time he can spend in the ring as precious.
The 31-year-old is poised to return to action for the first time since October on the card headlined by Contender Gym stablemate Nick Blackwell among others at Bath’s Forum on April 5.
Injury – a bucket of water being the culprit – has curtailed the father of three’s commitments since he retired in the fourth round of his bout against 2008 Olympian Bradley Saunders in London last October – only the second blemish on his seven-fight record.
“I pulled myself out of the (Saunders) fight and then two weeks later, I lifted a bucket of water and pulled my (left) shoulder, so I didn’t fight on my home show (in Trowbridge in late October),’’ said Heard, who is a builder by trade.
“I just lifted the bucket with a straight arm, but when I got up the next morning I couldn’t jab. By the end of January I was raring to go again and then this (the Bath show) came up.
A twisted ankle a few weeks back also curtailed the progress of a fighter who spent nearly two-and- a-half months out of the ring from late 2009 because of tendonitis in his left elbow just two fights into his pro career.
“With injuries, you have to have that time off,’’ he added.
“You can’t just keep plugging away at it because it doesn’t get any better.’’
Prior to the Saunders appointment, Heard lifted the first title of his career as he forced the retirement of Exeter’s Faheem Khan in Swindon in June to clinch the British Masters Bronze welterweight crown and despite not knowing what lies ahead in his ring career, he’s itching to return.
“I don’t like the breaks,’’ he admitted. “I just want to keep ticking on and boxing, but I’m sort of glad because I got to spend a little bit of time at home with my boys (sons Owen, Finley and Enzo).’’
Heard’s opponent for the April 5 date has yet to be announced and the Bradford man refuses to contemplate what may lie in store in the future.
“I’m happy to have done what I’ve done, I want to achieve more but I know that in my position, with young children and things like that, I may only have a handful more fights,’’ he said.
“I’d like to win an Area belt and I could do it but I’m going to be 32 this year and my wife (Sam) is thinking ‘come on Gareth, pack this in.’ We’ll take it a fight at a time and see what comes of it.
“I’m pleased just to be boxing. Every time I get in there, I’m grateful. No one understands what you have to go through.
“I’ll be training at 6am, then go to work and I’m a builder, so it’s hard work. Then you go training in the evening and obviously when you have kids it’s a sacrifice, all to get in there for five, six, seven rounds.
“I don’t love the training so much, I just love the night. But I know you can’t have that without the training.’’
Tickets to the Bath show, which includes up to four title fights are available via southwestproboxing.co.uk.
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