Ryan Whitehead plans on being the last man standing when he’s back in action after returning to a level of fitness that was his forte.
A long spell on the sidelines ends when BCB Promotions’ next offering at the H Suite arrives in Edgbaston, Birmingham, with a Friday fight night set for September 23.
Becoming ready to compete again, after a two-year absence, has seen him shift a significant amount of weight, which wasn’t there when he made his pro debut in March 2020.
Whitehead outworked erstwhile campaigner Kearon Thomas on that occasion, coming out on top in all four rounds to record a points whitewash victory, through a 40-36 scoreline.
Since then, the 28-year-old super middleweight has stepped away from the sport to become a father again, with one-year-old Noah joining sister Liliyah (5) and stepsister Imogen (10).
Whitehead, who grew up in the Telford town in Oakengates but now lives in Muxton, is also set to marry fiance Hailey next year, so family life is firmly in his mind.
He’s making the time for boxing, though, having left full-time employment, as a network engineer for CityFibre, to go part-time as a personal trainer.
Switching coaches has seen him leave the stewardship of Kieron Gray and rejoin amateur mentor Tristan Davies, who now has a pro licence.
At amateur level, Whitehead boxed for the Telford and Donnington Boxing Clubs, gleaning 11 victories from 21 unpaid bouts, but honours eluded him.
He said: “I had my pro debut, then the break because of Covid and I found out we were having a little boy, too, so I came away from boxing for a while.
“When I decided I wanted to give it another go, I quit my job and went back to Donnington (Boxing Club) and Tristan, who’s now a pro coach.
“I went with ‘Slammer’ (Kieron Gray) when I turned pro, but the plan with him was only to be in the away corner and get as many fights in as I could.
“I’m thinking differently now, I’ve given a lot of my adult life to boxing and I want some good memories to take from it, through what I’ve achieved.
“I fell just short of winning a Midlands title twice, as an amateur, so I’m determined to win something as a pro. I’m really looking to push on now.
“Once I started getting myself back into shape, it all came together and I’ve got the time now to train properly. I went up to 16st, at one point, and now I’m back towards 12st.
“I love cardio and I run the Wrekin (a hill in Shropshire) regularly, then I train with my coach once a day, at least, plus we go around for sparring.
“I’ve done lots of rounds with Tyler Denny (English middleweight champion) and I’ve been over to Team Shoe Box (gym in Northampton) to spar with Sam Daly (undefeated pro).
“I’m working as a PT (personal trainer) doing one-to-one sessions, where I help people whether they want to learn boxing or just lose weight. I still get time to spend at home, too.
“I’m feeling sharp again and I’m confident that I’ll be competitive when I come back. I know that I can set a hell of a pace, over four rounds, and cause some problems.
“The only way that someone is going to beat me is if they are a better boxer, no opponent will be fitter and they will gas out before I do. I’ve got a good engine, that’s the key thing.”
Tickets for the H Suite bill are available, priced at £40 standard or £75 VIP ringside with buffet, directly from the boxers or by visiting myfighttickets.com.