THIS MONTH SWINDON FAVORITE JAMIE COX returns to the ring to add further spice to the already flourishing domestic middleweight scene.
As a teenager, the mallet-fisted southpaw stormed to a senior ABA title and a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
However, his frightening power was compromised by fragile hands and, despite advancing to the Commonwealth light-middle throne in 2011, several surgeries and rehabilitations prevented Cox from attaining the rewards and glory commensurate to his talent.
But the Wiltshire wonder insists that after finally undergoing the knife of market leader Dr Mike Hayton, his explosive mitts are now as good as they've ever been. Still only 28, he claims there is still time for him to make a major impact on the sport.
Last week, boxing writer Glynn Evans hooked up with the likeable, courteous Cox to reflect and pontificate.
Having debuted back in July 2007 and remained unbeaten in 17 fights since, you must have thought you'd be further ahead in your career by now?
Yeah obviously but I'm happy that others among my old international teammates were able to earn their stripes early. I'm not bitter.
Certain politics have been against me but I have to thank my coach John Costello for always pushing me to stay in the sport through the hard times, urging me not to squander my talent. I never lost sight of my goals. Hopefully, I'll be a British champion by the end of this year. In this game you have to aim for the very top.
After four years unbeaten as a pro, you finally got a crack at the vacant Commonwealth Light-Middleweight title against Ghana's Obodai Sai at the Mayfair Hilton in September 2011. Despite being badly cut and having two points docked for low blows, you were coronated following a controversial decision. What points did you feel you proved that night?
I was pleased that I went 12 rounds for the first time when I'd not previously been more than eight... despite breaking my left hand in round three. And I did the distance on just six weeks' notice. My mum rang to notify me of the opportunity when I was actually away on holiday.
Where did you expect that win to propel you?
After the fight, I really didn't know what to expect. I was just concerned that I'd lose all the money I'd earned to repair my broken hand. I was wishing I'd stayed away on holiday!
Frank Warren told me it was the worst such injury he'd ever seen in boxing. Initially I went to the specialist that Joe Calzaghe used and he told me that I'd never box again. When the NHS finally operated on it after nine months, they mucked it up. The bones were placed on top of one another rather than running in parallel and this was causing a ridge on my hand.
But John (Costello) pursued Mike Hayton, a hand surgeon in Manchester who's sorted out a lot of boxers. Mike operated on me within a week. He re-broke the hand and re-set it. Previously I'd always had niggles with the left hand, my power shot, but today it's never felt better or stronger.
On a personal note, how difficult was it to cope with the inactivity? How low did you get? How did you get through it?
To be honest, I'm not the sort of person who ever gets low. I lost my dad in early 2011 and you can't get lower than that. Life is full of ups and downs and I'm the type who, if something isn't going right, I'll just try something else. I don't get depressed.
I've kept my mind busy and my spirits up. I've now got my own 300 square feet gym Arena Health and Fitness in Swindon. Initially I was busy opening and promoting that. Now we do PT and physiotherapy classes. I've also undertaken a number of health and fitness courses.
Even if I couldn't box again, I'd always be involved in fitness. I love training. It's all I do. If I'm not training myself, then I'm training someone else.
You've surfaced publically just once over the past 41 months - a shut out six round win over French six footer Matiouze Royer in June 2013. How did you feel that night?
I felt pretty good in there and it was great to be back involved again. But, if I'm honest, I've had far harder spars with the likes of (20-1 US welter prospect) Cecil McCalla, Jack Catterall and Joe Costello. Joe's only a lightweight so I just use him for speed but he's plenty strong himself and is going to go on to achieve massive things.
I've been fit and ready to fight since but have just been waiting to sort out a deal.
To what extent have you been training over the subsequent 20 months? In what ways have you been developing under coach John Costello, away from the spotlight?
I'd ticked over with a bit of running and calisthenics back in Swindon but only resumed boxing training with John about eight months ago. First, I provided southpaw sparring for Amir Khan ahead of his fight with Luis Collazo and felt good.
John's the master, I'm the dog. I do everything he instructs me to. I always give 100% whether it's shadow boxing, pads, bags or sparring.
Today, I'm far more focussed on being slick and using my speed as well as power. I've always been a good technician but, possibly because I had a couple of decent knockouts early doors, I kept trying to live up to it and got involved in wars. But the recovery after a few bumps is a bit slower these days. Expect to see me boxingagain.
In which weight class do you intend to operate?
I'm stuck between weights a little bit. Given the right time to prepare I could possibly still make light-middleweight and I'd definitely put myself through the mill for a fight with (former WBO challenger) Brian Rose. I've nothing against him personally but he's been talking rubbish. If he wants it, he can have it.
But it's only six pounds difference if I go up to middleweight and I've always been pretty strong. I've felt good sparring boys up to light-heavy so being competitive at 160lbs certainly shouldn't be a problem.
What are you hoping to take from your comeback fight against Alistair Warren in Wolverhampton on February 14?
I've probably sparred better people than Warren so it's just a case of looking good and reminding the fans what I'm about; whether that involves a points win, a stoppage or a knockout. I want to perform to the level I've been performing at in the gym - hitting him and not getting hit back.
Clearly you're a championship grade fighter. Which titles or champions are you targeting?
I don't really want to start calling people out but there's plenty of good fighters in Britain in both divisions and I'll fight any name that'll help to get me up there. In addition to Rose, there's Liam Smith at light-middle and, at middleweight, there's guys like (Matt) Macklin, Nick Blackwell and John Ryder who I could beat.
Down the line there's plenty of world class guys like Martin Murray, Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders - but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Right now I've got to concentrate on Alistair Warren.
What do you still have to offer British boxing?
Plenty. I'm with a very good manager in Lee Beard and a great coach in John Costello. I'm doing really good in sparring so now it's just a case of transferring that form into the ring on fight night.
Everybody was forgetting who Jamie Cox was. I need to remind people that I always 'bring it', always provide entertainment and I've never bottled from anyone. Hopefully, after Alistair Warren, I can be involved in big fights.