JONES BUILDS ON BOXING COMEBACK

Tonight, professional boxing will make it’s return to North Wales for the first time in three years and one benefactor will be Andy Jones (2-0). The 30-year-old from Flintshire hasn’t boxed in Wales since his last amateur contest, a Welsh ABA final in 2011. Almost two years of inactivity from competitive boxing followed and the 6ft 4inch high heavyweight’s two professional fights so far since have both been in England. However, respected manager and promoter David Coldwell has signed up some of the north’s best talent and will host ‘The Return’ at the Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry. Although happy to fight anywhere, Jones hopes that tonight’s show will kick start a revival for the region. He said, “This first show has been a bit more difficult because there hasn’t been an event up here in North Wales for a long time but I think if we can build on the back of this, we can get some regular shows on. It would be good to have some Welsh title fights for the lads in our gym and build on that. We’ve needed this. “As long as I’ve got the fights behind me, I’ll be ready for a Welsh title fight too. I’m not going to be rushed but it’s definitely something I’ll be looking at.” “I’m happy to travel if I need to though. I’ll go where the fights are. If we can get them in North Wales, that would be great but if not, I’m more than ready to travel – even in to Europe because there’s a lot of heavyweights in Germany and they seem to be doing alright.” Jones was a standout amateur for Wales, winning multiple Welsh senior titles out of Shane Thomas’ Shotton Amateur and Professional Boxing Club. Despite representing his country and achieving success at international level on many occasions, it wasn’t enough for Jones who lost his love for boxing. Jones said, “I got a bit disillusioned with the amateur side of the boxing, I was fed up with it so I decided to walk away. I wasn’t boxing for the right reasons, I was doing it for other people. When I originally started boxing in the amateurs, I had no plans to turn pro but the boxing politics on the amateur side of it… I got fed up of it because I had it from when I started to when I finished. “I just didn’t want to be involved in it anymore. I did a charity boxing event and they stopped me going in to the championships, they said it was unlicensed but it was only an open spar to raise money for charity.I walked away and tried a few different things, started doing a bit of K1, kick boxing and Thai boxing for a while. Through an internal calling, the Welshman eventually restarted his boxing career but previous circumstances meant that he wouldn’t return as an amateur, he would instead ‘turn over’ and join the paid professional ranks, where he has so far recorded two four round decisions wins over journeymen Moses Matovu and Remigijus Ziausys. Explaining the reasoning behind his comeback to competitive fighting, he said, “I enjoyed training with no pressure but I could never find the intensity that I got in a boxing gym. Even though I was trying different things like the wrestling and JuJutsu – nothing seemed to fill the void. I competed in a couple of semi-pro boxing matches but they weren’t up to scratch and they weren’t testing me enough. “The next step after that was the pros, so it just seemed like the right thing to do. I spoke to Shane Thomas who was my coach when I first started, who I had most of my success with too, he had me back training there and I got the bug back. I started learning again, loving the training and the competitive side of it.”

The opponent for Jones’ third professional fight will be Imantus Davidaitis (2-6, 2KO) and the pair will fight over the four round distance. Other Welshmen on the show include Tom Doran, Kerry Evans and Cameron Halfpenny.

Tickets for Coldwell Boxing’s ‘The Return’ show are available from www.ColdwellBoxing.com and priced at £10, £15, £30, £60 and £120.

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