SUNDERLAND prospect Jonson McClumpha feared his boxing career was over after more than a year spent fighting a debilitating foot injury.
But he came back with a bang last weekend in an eye-catching battle against Tyneside’s Andrew Buchanan at the Stadium of Light.
And now the 22-year-old is keen to make up for lost time.
The Grindon middleweight told the Echo: “I’ve been a long time out and, to be honest, there were plenty of times that I was worried my boxing career was over and I’d never fight again.
“I’m pretty proud that I kept myself together and focused because it would have been easy to give up.
“But everything appears to have sorted itself out now and that’s a massive relief.”
McClumpha’s woes began at the start of last year when he was out jogging in preparation for a fight.
“I felt a pain in my foot and it turned out a bone had just collapsed,” he recalled.
“That bone going meant that lots of others moved out of line and I was in trouble because of it – I just couldn’t get it right again.
“It was painful and there has been loads of work trying to fix it.
“In the end, I had to undergo a four-hour operation which involved inserting steel plates and screws.
“It was a big operation, but it did the trick and it was just a great feeling to be back in the ring again on Sunday and boxing.”
Unbeaten McClumpha produced one of the best fights of the afternoon in the Summer Rumble when he and veteran Buchanan went toe-to-toe over six rounds.
The Sunderland man forced the pace, but Buchanan used all his ring-craft to ensure he was always in it.
In a high-tempo, aggressive encounter, with powerful punches flying in, both boxers ended the contest battered and bloodied.
And while McClumpha had to settle for a draw – the first one of half-a-dozen pro contests he has not won – he said he was glad of the experience.
“I could have gone for a journeyman, but I was prepared to go in with Buchanan who has a good professional record and an outstanding amateur one,” McClumpha said.
“He’s 10 years older than me, knows how to look after himself, uses the ring well and he’s strong too.
“There’s no doubt I chose a hard fight to come back in after more than a year out.
“But I’m glad I did.
“The fans enjoyed a real fight, it was a real test for me and now I’m confident about going on from here.
“I’ve also got to thank my sponsors too – J&N Steelcraft, Grapple Fit and A1Multisport – because they stood by me through the rough times and I don’t think I would have been able to do it without their support.”