Ryan Aston knows that the red mist cannot come down again as he attempts to rebuild his career in professional boxing.
The 26-year-old from Dudley returns to the ring on home turf at the Venue, on the town’s high street, on Saturday April 8.
‘Tank’ is raring to go again after deciding to carry on in the sport, having previously coming up short in title situations.
A set of circumstances have led to the powerful southpaw being defeated in three contests for area crowns and IBF International honours.
All came against dangerous opponents, the first against Curtis Valentine the day after Aston had been involved in a car crash.
Jason Welborn starred on Sky Sports comprehensively beating Marcus Morrison last weekend, while Ahmet Patterson is knocking on the door of British title contention.
Craig Cunningham also beat Welborn and Anthony Ogogo on an impressive tear last year and put on a fight of the year contender with Aston at Dudley Town Hall last May.
All three of his TKO defeats to Valentine, Patterson and Cunningham have come after he stood and wildly traded with his opponent.
The quality in the other corner during his setbacks doesn’t offer Aston much comfort, but he’s made changes he feels can only help him improve.
Joby Clayton has come on board as his main coach with ex-pros Richard Ghent and Robert Wright also in his corner. They mainly train at the RG Box Fit in Bilston.
Aston will undertake a four-rounder against Deividas Sajauka, a durable Lithuanian adversary who is rarely halted inside the distance.
Hometown hero Aston said: “I still feel like I’ve got plenty left in the tank! Boxing is in my blood, It’s what I do and it’s what I’ve always done.
“I want to show people what I can do, but I’m also aware that I need to keep my cool and stick to what I’m good at.
“There are reasons why I lost like I have. For instance, against Valentine I should have pulled out after the car crash the day before.
“Anybody who was there that night will tell you that I beat Welborn, but the referee gave the result to him and I’ll never understand why.
“I brought a sports psychologist in before the Patterson fight, which was a mistake because I didn’t need it. He came down with me and I think it threw me off. It all went to pot.
“Cunningham is a good lad and a very under-rated boxer, it was tit for tat with us swapping punches and I was the one that caught the killer blow.
“But I need to put all of that in the past now and concentrate on my future, under new coaches and with Errol Johnson as my manager. If I’m honest, I should have made changes before this.
“Joby is a first-class trainer and Richard has been a friend of mine since we was at school. He’s got so much potential. Robert is also an excellent motivator. We are all reading off the same page.
“When I started training again, it was like riding a bike but with stabilisers on! It’s been a work in progress, but it’s all coming together and you will see that.
“Progress has been made and I’m back to where I need to be. Dudley is my grassroots and I had a bad night last time, it was silly tactics from myself and I should have stuck to my boxing.
“It will be great to get back to fighting in my hometown, though, where I’ve always enjoyed a lot of support. I can’t wait, I want you to come and see the changes I’ve made.”
Aston has also changed jobs from being a mentor in a school to hod carrying, carrying around heavy loads of bricks on a day-to-day basis.
He considers it the perfect preparation for fight night, concentrating on boxing skills when he gets to the gym after work.
He said: “I get three breaks a day, too, which means I can eat properly and we can focus on the more technical side of things.”
Aston congratulated Welborn on his latest victory, all though he cannot help but think how different his path might have been had he prevailed between them.
Shaun Messer was the man in the middle that night and raised Welborn’s hand on a close 97-95 points call after 10 rounds.
Aston said: “Fair play to Jason, we’ve put the past behind us now and I consider him a friend. I saw him some time ago and we had a nice chat.
“He beat me and got a fight against Matthew Macklin, which put him on the television radar and he’s capitalised on that now. In my opinion, that’s an opportunity that should have gone to me.”
Aston, Kane Baker and debutant Shaun Cooper take part in four-round bouts on the card, with Tyler Denny and Andrew Robinson featuring over six.
Tickets, priced at £35 and £50 ringside with waitress service, are available now by calling Ryan directly on 07766 491 779. Alternatively, contact him on Facebook.