Stourbridge’s Steven Pearce has announced his retirement from boxing after a reoccurring ear injury was at risk of leaving the 31-year-old partially deaf, writes James Eley.
‘The Fierce’ was due to appear on Black Country Boxing and Hatton Promotions’ co-promotion at Walsall FC next month but, after seeking medical advice, doctors warned the former Midlands Area Champion that he risked losing his hearing if another blow struck his ear, which he perforated for a second time in last year’s BBBoC Midlands Area Fight of the Year contender against Amir Unsworth.
Pearce admits it was difficult to call time on a career which saw him fight 16 times since turning professional in 2011.
“It’s been a really hard call to make,” Pearce admitted to www.uko-boxing.com. “I’ve perforated my ear drum for a third time and I just can’t risk losing my hearing.
“I did it in sparring the first time and then against Amir Unsworth last year. The fight against Unsworth was brutal. It was relentless; like a street fight in the ring. I had a perforated ear drum, bruised ribs, and I didn’t get out of bed the following day. It was a mad fight but I think that’s the kind of fighter I’ll be remembered as.
“I have had constant ringing in my ear and the doctors have said I could go deaf if I damage it again, so it isn’t worth the risk. I think my time has passed so I have decided to call it a day.
“It is very frustrating. There is only so much you can do and it has been so annoying.
“Another reason I decided to retire was I was getting to a level where my opponents were full time. I was working 40 hours a week as a builder, so I had to fit training in around that. Adam Little, who I fought for an English Title last time out, was training in Las Vegas in the Wildcard Gym with Freddie Roach while I was laying bricks. It just wasn’t a level playing field.
“I either had to give work up and do it full time or pack it in. With this injury I decided to call it a day. If I was 22 or 23 I would have gone full time boxing but at 31 my time has passed and I have to accept it.”
Pearce, who won 11 of his 16 fights, feels his biggest achievement was winning the Midlands Area Welterweight Title that earned him a fight against Sam Eggington, who went on to lift the British and Commonwealth titles.
Pearce took on Derby’s Luke Gallear in Burton back in 2013 on just four days notice but stopped the home fighter in just five rounds.
“I have had some cracking fights,” he added. “My favourite fight was when I went down to Burton coming off a loss from Prize Fighter on four days’ notice to fight for the area title. I took out Luke Gallear in five rounds. I dropped him in the second and finished it in the fifth to win the Area Title which was way more than anyone expected from me. He sold the venue out so it was great to get the win.
“That led me to a first defence against what proved to be my hardest fight – against Sam Eggington. Sam and I went toe to toe for seven rounds. He stopped me in the seventh but I probably gave Sam his hardest fight in many ways and he went on to be the British and Commonwealth Champion.
“He even says today that I was the hardest fight he has had and he has been in with superstars. Sam is a good pal of mine and he has done really well. He is a great lad and I hope he can come back off his loss to a guy I’ve also shared a ring with – Bradley Skeete.
“Skeete is a lot better than what people say. People think he looks skinny and weak but he is a fantastic mover and reads the fight like Floyd Mayweather. He seems to know what you are going to do before you do it; he is a genius in the ring. I was on him but I made one wrong move and it was over because he is that good.”
Despite the disappointment of retirement, the likeable Pearce admits he had planned on walking away from the sport this year anyway, albeit after adding another belt to his name. However, cutting his ring career slightly short will allow him to concentrate on the next chapter of his life – as a boxing coach.
“After losing to Little I was going to fight this season out, maybe try and go for a title in June and then I planned to retire anyway. I have my professional coaching licence so I was going to call it a day but I wanted to do it out of choice and not be forced. I am now a professional coach training professionals at Shaun Cooper’s Boxing Camp, Brierley Hill, Monday to Friday. Then I am starting my own Academy there on a Saturday. I will be doing personal training for people of all abilities.
“I will be helping male or female with any type of ambition. In the week days, after finishing my day job as a maintenance worker, I will be working with the other professional boxers in Shaun’s stable. Weekends will see me putting something back by helping anyone from the local community who wants to come down to the gym, get fit and learn the art of boxing.
“It’s the next step for me and I’m looking forward to it. I can look back on what I achieved with great pride.”
Coops Camp is located at Unit 17, The Premier Industrial Estate, Leys Road, Brierley Hill, DY5 3UP. To find out more about Steven Pearces Boxing Academy call 07875 653 842.
Pearce has been replaced on Black Country Boxing and Hatton Promotions’ ‘May-Hem’ show at Walsall FC on Saturday, 14th May by two-time British Title challenger, Jason Welborn. Welborn, fresh from his 56-second stoppage of Michal Voscky on Saturday, is joined by the likes of Martin Gethin, Sam Evans, Nathan Gorman, Chad Sugden and Kieron McLaren.
Tickets are £30 for standard unreserved seats and £60 for VIP tickets which includes table service and a two-course meal. Call the Walsall FC Ticket Office on 01922 651 414 to book.