Bradley Smith can’t wait to step back into the ring this Saturday night.
The unbeaten lightweight talent - winner of all seven previous professional outings - faces a four-round clash at the York Hall in London against Slovakian veteran Ivan Godor.
It will be the 20 year-old’s first appearance since last summer with a brief retirement due to severe anxiety now firmly behind him and it could potentially be a tricky assignment.
Godor is 18 years his senior and has enjoyed a 78-fight career. He has lost 54 of those outings, but bagged 20 wins – six by KO – as well.
But Smith, who has been training twice daily since returning to work under Barry Smith at West Ham Boxing Club in January, is determined to begin his ‘fresh start’ in a positive way.
He said: “It’s been going really well since getting back into training. I was struggling a bit at first after a few months out, but I’ve got my fitness back now and I’m in such a better place mentally.
“Last year it all became a grind for me, but now I wake up in the morning feeling excited about getting into the gym.
“It’s exactly the same lifestyle as before, spending Monday to Friday down in London, but it feels like a fresh start.
“I’m sure I’ll have a little holiday at some point, but I’m boxing full-time throughout the year. There will be no long breaks away from the gym and I’m so hungry for it again.
“I’m living with another fighter - Ben Smith - during the week and that really helps. The life of a boxer can be a lonely one, but we get on great and it’s brilliant to have someone else around.”
So what will the York Hall crowd - which will be swelled by around 150 fight fans from the Hunts area - see from Smith?
“A more mature performance - well that’s the plan anyway!” he continued. “I’m counting down the days to being back in the ring and it’s great so many fans have stuck with me.
“But I’m not going to allow myself to get carried away as I need to get rounds under my belt. Don’t get me wrong, if the chance of a KO comes along I’ll take it, but I won’t be doing anything silly.
“It’s a night to be sensible, get another win on my record and make a statement by boxing well.
“We’ve got three fights planned for this year and the aim is to keep making steady progress while working hard in the gym.
“It is all about building for a big 2019. That’s when I want to be able to start calling people out and kicking on.”
He was originally due to fight a Croatian opponent who pulled out last week before Godor stepped in at short notice.
Smith is thankful for the support of sponsors Coverspan, Smith & Smith Builders and DA Green & Sons.