Coventry welterweight James Montgomery knows just stepping into the ring is a victory in itself ahead of his second professional fight next month.
The reformed bad-boy takes on Liam Wright at Walsall Town Hall on July 9 after finally kicking off his career with a controversial draw with Ben Eland in Stoke last October.
‘The Full Monty’ spent two years battling to get a professional licence after complications with brain scans and suffering a stroke, but after getting the all-clear he is ready to kick on.
“It’s been hard just to get my career started,” he told uko-boxing.com ahead of Black Country Boxing’s Summer Scorcher show, sponsored by Grosvenor Casino Walsall.
“I managed to eventually get the first one out the way last year. It was an away fight in Stoke and the odds were against me but I felt I won the fight despite only getting a draw.
“Now I’m fighting on a home show it’s an opportunity because I’ve got a level playing field and shouldn’t get robbed. I know how it works.
“I want to get some wins and build a following now. I’ve been through a lot. Getting my licence after everything was a big thing for me. People were doubting me but I got my licence, worked with Errol (Johnson, manager) and he was determined to get me out there.”
Montgomery never doubted he would eventually get his chance.
“I knew it was going to happen because I was persistent,” he said. “When they told me I couldn’t have my licence because of the brain scan I kept on. I had a stroke through stress but it was a mini-stroke, rather than a proper stroke, and exercise and training actually facilitates your recovery.
“So I was able to pass the medical and my recovery was documented by the NHS. The board had to give me my licence. “It’s been a challenge but the more I get told ‘no’, the more I go for it.”