Josh Stokes will be going back to basics when his four-year hiatus comes to an end.
His return will come at the Holiday Inn Queensway, in Birmingham city centre, on the evening of Thursday December 2, as part of a show staged by BCB Promotions.
Rewind to February 2017 and he was making his pro bow, one of four contests that made up a busy debut year, before his progress suddenly stalled.
Stokes turned over with a flawless 40-36 points verdict over Mitch Mitchell, the same verdict by which he vanquished Curtis Gargano and Richard Harrison in quick succession.
Come that September, he’d even scored his first TKO, removing Raimonds Sneidze in the second of four rounds. By 2018, a back injury would prove troublesome.Stokes then fell away from the pro picture, but remains undefeated and, even after such a long break, he’s hoping to re-establish himself quickly.
His dedication to reaffirming that status has seen him shed the pounds and take on a new coach, with Richard Ghent now in his corner.
Ghent and Robert Wright, both ex-pros, are now training him out of the RG Box Fit gym in Bilston, Wolverhampton. He continues to be managed by Errol Johnson and BCB.
Stokes, from West Bromwich, did have a solid amateur grounding, too, where he racked up over 50 bouts under the banner of Wodensbrough Boxing Club.
The 28-year-old feels that the hardest part will be shaking off the ring rust, but he has every confidence of reaching 5-0 and kicking on next year.
He said: “The last time I went in there was the best I’ve boxed, as a pro. To get the stoppage was a great result, it was just so long ago now. I’ve lost over 3st, getting back into shape.
“The other three were all good learning fights, where I got some experience and I’ve never lost a round in the pro game. Hopefully, that will continue.
“I still can’t believe it’s been four years out. It’s been a weird time, for me, but there’s nothing I can do about it now and I want to put the past behind me.
“I’ve had some injury problems. I hurt my back at work, I’m a scaffolder and I started to get really bad sciatica through it, which kept me out for quite a while.
“Then the pandemic came along, which stopped most of us fighting for over a year, but I suppose everything happens for a reason.
“I’ve changed gyms now, Richard (Ghent) is my new coach and I’m really happy with him. It’s done me good and got me loving the sport again.
“I think I fell out of love with boxing, a bit, and maybe I was just turning up to the gym, when I first came back. I needed a change and I’ve made it.
“I actually feel physically stronger now, like my man strength has come through. I’m 28 now, but I still think I can do good things, with the rest of my career.
“It feels like I’m making my debut again, getting the ball rolling, and there might be a few nerves there, but I’ll be alright when the bell goes. With another win, I can start to push on.”
Tickets for the Holiday Inn offering are available now, priced at £40 standard or £80 VIP ringside with buffet, directly from the boxers or by visiting myfighttickets.com.