Blackpool boxer ‘Jazzy’ Jeff Thomas has finally been given the green light to make his remarkable comeback to the sport after eight years in retirement.
The 38-year-old, whose last fight was in 2012, was originally due to make his return last month.
But his scheduled bout had to be cancelled due to a delay in getting medical clearance from the British Boxing Board of Control.
The Board has now passed him to fight and a new date has already been pencilled in for March 14 in Colne.
Thomas told The Gazette: “You’re on limited time, aren’t you? So that made the delay quite frustrating.
“But it’s a good thing in a way as that insecurity of not knowing if you’re going to fight again makes you really want to do it.
“I have been training anyway and I was left waiting every day, thinking, ‘Are they going to ring today?’
“Now they’ve rung me, I’m just buzzing and I can’t wait to get into the gym and start working towards it.”
Thomas’ last bout eight years ago was at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, where he beat Andrew Patterson on points.
He won 11 of his 21 fights as a professional, taking on the likes of three-time world champion Ricky Burns.
The delay in Thomas receiving clearance to fight related to the Board requesting to see surgeon’s notes from an operation the boxer had following a motorbike accident several years ago.
However, the Blackpool fighter has remained in the gym and insists he’ll be ready to go when the time comes.
He added: “When we had the November date, that looked like a cert as I had an opponent lined up and it was all booked.
“We were just waiting for clearance from the Board but I was still training twice a day and dieting properly.
“When that date fell through, I remained in the gym. I might have had a week off or something like that at most.
“I’ve been doing one session a day, five days a week but that will probably go up to two sessions a day.”
Should Thomas finally make his return in 2020 as planned, it will mean the fighter will have boxed in four separate decades.
He originally fought in the 1990s as an amateur before turning professional in 2001.
“I think Roberto Duran, who is one of my heroes, actually managed to fight in five decades but I’m definitely not going to do that,” Thomas said.
“I’m quite happy with four as that’s pretty impressive in terms of a lifetime commitment to fitness and the sport.
“I haven’t got an opponent confirmed yet but it should be someone who will give me a good test.
“But after that I’m meant to fight for the Central Area title, providing I win my comeback fight.
“The idea is to progress quite quickly as it’s likely to be only a couple of years that I’m back for.
“That should make it all fast-moving and I’ll have to take some chances fairly early on in my comeback.”
Thomas would like to give his thanks to sponsor David Oakes from Highfield Tanning, who has covered all of his costs.