TONY Jeffries is putting homesickness to one side so he can focus on being ready for his test against Tony Quigley.
The Sunderland super middleweight has spent only a month of 2011 at home but returns from America to face former British champion Quigley in Doncaster on September 3.
Jeffries admits he can’t wait to get back to the North East but confessed he is also loving the work he’s doing in Los Angeles with coach Tommy Brooks.
“I won’t lie; I’m missing my friends and family,” he admitted. “I’ve been away most of this year but it’s been really good for my boxing and it’s help a lot having my fiancee Sarah here with me.
“I’m learning lots in the gym with Tommy. He’s there whenever I’m on the pads, shadow boxing or sparring and he’s always correcting me.
“I wish I could have come to work with Tommy as soon as I turned pro.
“I don’t think I was learning much in the first couple of years after I went pro.
“I know I’ve not had a fight this year but I feel like I have developed more in the last few months than I would have learned from a couple of fights against journeymen.”
Jeffries, 26, has not had a fight since December 2010, when he knocked out Ulsterman Tommy Tolan in Belfast.
That comprehensive victory came at a cost, the Northern Irishman leaving Jeffries with a badly cut left eye from a clash of heads.
The wound re-opened in training and Jeffries eventually needed specialist surgery that kept him out of action while his contemporaries James Degale and George Groves went toe-to-toe in a high-profile British and Commonwealth title scrap.
“I’ve been out of the spotlight for a while after getting a lot of exposure at the start,” said Jeffries.
“That’s probably not a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong; I would have loved a fight before September and I was annoyed about that, but I feel like every gym session with Tommy is making a difference.
“I’m not making massive changes to my style. It’s little details.
“My footwork is better, I’m better balanced, my defence is better – I feel strong and fit and the help I’ve had from Joe Dunbar on conditioning and Kerry Kayes on diet has helped me control my weight.
“The next four weeks are going to be tough physically. I’ll be doing a lot of road work and sparring between 80 and 100 rounds so I’m going to get my head down and hopefully make all that hard work count in the Quigley fight.”
Tickets for the contest are priced £35 and £70 (ringside) and are available from Phil Jeffries on 0191 564 0202, or by visiting www.tonyjeffries.com.
Sunderland’s Glen Foot is also on the Frank Maloney-promoted bill.