BLACKPOOL boxer Jeff Thomas bids for a place in the big-time tonight when he competes in the Prizefighter light-middleweight series in London.
Thomas is in the eight-strong field, bidding for the £32,000 winner’s cheque in boxing’s knockout version of twenty20 cricket at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
The line-up includes a former ‘world’ champion in Takaloo, as well as JJ Bird, Peter Vaughan, Wayne Goddard, Kris Agyei-Dua, Daniel Herdman and Steve Harkin.
Thomas got on the bill after launching a successful campaign on social media sites.
He is determined to make the most of his chance on the Sky-televised show – and reckons he has a winning chance.
He has had his share of lows in the fight game but wants to rectify that.
“I started my career really well but things got progressively worse. Being beaten for the Irish title was a real low point, so I decided to go and do things that I wanted to do,
“I went into the Army, then to college and university – the things I should perhaps have done when I first left school.
“In 2008 I started training for a comeback but got injured. I was trying to go for too light a weight. I wasn’t able to eat properly and my training suffered as a result.
“Even when I was in Catterick doing my Army training, I was boxing too so I’ve never been away from the sport.
“I had a break from it but felt I wasn’t doing myself justice, but when I came back and started sparring with decent lads, I was holding my own or better. I thought I need to give myself one last chance as it would be a travesty to get to 34 or 35 and think, ‘What if?’.
“I didn’t turn pro to be a boxer who has won nine, lost six and drawn two. I wanted to win titles and do all the things I dreamed of when I was a kid.
“Things happened along the way and I lost my path, but today I’m three fights away from a where I was.
“Once I win tonight, people won’t be looking at the pas – they’ll be looking at my future as Prizefighter champion. The six defeats won’t matter.”
Thomas says his record does not tell the true story of his experience.
He explained: “I’ve boxed since I was 12 and I was quite prodigious as a kid.
“ I was sparring with pros at 14 and 15, so my record says I have 17 fights but in reality I’ve been around pros for 15 years now.
“I’ve had big nights going into the lion’s den, with Ricky Burns and Lee McAllister, and my title fights have been away from home.
“I’ve always acquitted myself well but just needed something extra to find the win.
“Hopefully I’ll discover that tonight.”
Thomas admitted that his approach to the fight game had been wrong.
“I had the wrong attitude, but my life has changed a lot and I’m in the right place now to take this great opportunity.”
The draw for Prizefighter will take place in the ring tonight.