Injury lay-off will fuel El Toro’s title charge

Joel McIntyre, right, on his way to victory against Mihai Macovei at the Mounbatten Centre last December Picture: Mick Young

Joel McIntyre, right, on his way to victory against Mihai Macovei at the Mounbatten Centre last December Picture: Mick Young

Greg Bridet, centre, has won the English Title belt

Bridet’s return breathes new life into his career

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JOEL McINTYRE targeted a charge into title contention after putting his injury hell behind him.

The Leigh Park light-heavyweight has been given the all clear to return to the ring after a 10-month absence from professional action.

To have boxing taken from me for that time made me realise how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do.

Joel McIntyre

Now McIntyre is looking to make up for lost time, with two fights lined up before the end of the year.

And the plan is for the 12-1 man to sharpen his skills in those contests before boxing for the Southern Area title early in 2016.

McIntyre admitted he feared for his boxing future as he waited to go under the knife earlier this year to sort a troublesome hand injury.

The surgery eventually took place with a boxing specialist, after initial fears he would not be able to continue in the sport.

The 27-year-old is now fully recovered and invigorated as he returned to training this week.

Contests are lined up for October 9 and also November 14, as McIntyre looks to shake off the ring rust.

He explained his enforced ring absence has fuelled a hunger to succeed in the paid ranks.

McIntyre, nicknamed El Toro, said: ‘I’ve been given the all clear. The hand feels sold, I’m good to go and buzzing.

‘It’s been frustrating. The op was a bone fusion back in March.

‘I saw the best hand specialist in the country who has operated on the likes of Ricky Hatton and Billy Joe Saunders.

‘At first I was told I would not be able use or move the hand.

‘So I asked for a second opinion and that’s when I got put on to the consultant, who said I could have the fusion and still have the movement.

‘They took bone off the hip for the surgery and I was barely able to walk at first. I felt battered, like I’d been in a car crash and it got me down.

‘It frustrated me and made me realise how much I love what I do.

‘To have boxing taken from me for that time made me realise how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do. I won’t take that for granted again.’

McIntyre will return to the ring with a new promoter after signing with London-based Mickey Helliet.

He remains under the guidance of trainer Harry Andrew, who he linked up with last year.

A first defeat of his career arrived in his challenge for the Southern Area title against Miles Shinkwin, as McIntyre took a step up in quality last July.

Now he is after another shot at the title after going back to basics in his enforced ring absence.

‘The time out has been a blessing in disguise,’ said McIntyre.

‘I’ve not been able to hit bags so it’s been learning, learning, learning and getting obsessive about the details.

‘Tom Baker is boxing for the Southern Area title. He’s someone I’ve sparred loads, and the last few times I gave him nightmares. It’s a fight I know I can win.’

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