DAVE BIRMINGHAM’s boxing rise has been dealt an injury setback.
The former Pompey defender has been forced to cancel his latest professional outing in Bournemouth next week.
Birmingham was due to step up to six rounds against journeyman Harvey Hemsley, as he went in search of his fourth victory in the paid ranks.
But a mystery hand injury has led to the 35-year-old having to pull out of the contest.
It’s a blow which has left Birmingham ‘gutted’, but he is trying to keep the issue in context.
He feels taking the decision to recover from the ligament problem in his left hand over stepping into the ring short of his best is the sensible option.
Birmingham said: ‘A couple of weeks ago I woke up after training and my hand was real stiff.
‘I went to get a bottle of water and couldn’t pick it up or turn on the tap.
‘So I couldn’t do any sparring and when I went to throw a punch in training last week it was no good.
‘I couldn’t throw the left with any venom or block with it.
‘So I had to take the decision to pull out.
‘We don’t know how it happened, but it could have been any number of things from training.
‘I wouldn’t have wanted to let people down by putting in a half-hearted performance. It’s not my style to coast through six rounds. I’m an all-action boxer.
‘I’ve worked hard and want to build an unbeaten record. So I would have been absolutely fuming if I’d thrown that away.
‘I’m absolutely gutted, but it’s just a minor setback. Nothing major.
‘It’s just one of those freak things.’
Birmingham has fought three times this year since taking the decision to move into boxing after a football career with Pompey, Bournemouth and around the non-league circuit.
He was looking forward to stepping up to the six-round distance after a stoppage win and two points successes over four rounds.
That is now set to take place in Portsmouth in December.
Birmingham said ‘It’s frustrating after the work I’ve put in but I wasn’t prepared to go into the ring without the sparring.
‘I need to keep weight off it and I should be able to start doing light work in three weeks.
‘I’m looking to box in December in Portsmouth if the hand is alright. I’ll be ready for that one.’