Paul Gidney is just a week away from making a long-awaited return to the boxing ring, writes Roy Kelly.
The entertaining South Shields boxer will take on Luke Fash in Darlington next Saturday when he has his third professional contest.
Gidney has not been inside the square ring since outpointing Phil Hervey in March 2016 in Gateshead.
Since then, it has been his daughter, Poppy, who has been doing the fighting – fighting and beating cancer.
Coach Mal Gates says both boxer and trainer are excited to be back in action at the Dolphin Centre, where he meets the tough Hull opponent over four rounds.
“Poppy has now been given the all-clear which is fantastic news for everyone,” said Gates.
“Paul has still been doing stuff in the gym and has kept himself fit, but boxing has been put on hold and rightly so.
“But it’s great to see him back next week.
“Paul’s been training well with Anthony (Nelson) and Sam (Menzies) and looks in great nick.
“He’s been out for a year and a half and this is a good fight for him, Luke is a tough fella.
“Paul is a cracking boxer and it will be great to see him fight again.”
The 21-year-old bantamweight opened his career with a points win over Anwar Alfadli before outclassing Hervey in the battle of the novice pros.
“Paul can punch and after the first round against Hervey he came back to the corner and said ‘I can stop him’,” recalled Gates.
“But it was important he got the rounds in and gained experience.
“I said ‘if it comes it comes but I’d prefer you to get the rounds in.
“It’s the same next Saturday, Paul is very good but building experience counts for so much.”
Team Gidney would like to thank South Shields businesses, Richmond Taxis, Tinker Smiths Cocktail Bar and The Rattler Bar & Grill for their sponsorship of Paul.
For tickets for next Saturday’s afternoon show, call Mal on 07510320981.