Islington boxer ready to resume his career on Camden Centre show after 10-month break

Charlie Rice (right) in action against Pavel Senkovs. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO

Charlie Rice (right) in action against Pavel Senkovs. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO - Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO

Islington light-welterweight Charlie Rice says he has rediscovered his love of boxing as he prepares to end a 10-month exile from the ring on Friday night.

Rice has not fought since his sluggish points win over Pavels Senkovs in January and took a break from the sport to concentrate on earning a living as a bricklayer.

But the former Times ABC amateur has been training hard during recent weeks and cannot wait for his comeback, a six-round contest on Mickey Helliet’s ‘Spirit of the Hellraiser’ show at the Camden Centre, King’s Cross.

“I haven’t even been to a boxing show since I packed up 10 months ago, so it’ll be nice to be part of the occasion again,” Rice told the Gazette. “I’m looking forward to it.

“Because I wasn’t earning enough money to cover my outgoings, I had to get a proper stable job under my belt. I was struggling to live and pay my bills.

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“I’d been boxing since I was 12 and I’d never really had a break from it. But I found I was missing it a bit too much – the break cleared my mind and made me realise what I wanted to do with the sport.

“I’ve been back in the gym about nine weeks and it was hard at the start. I came back at 12st when I’m fighting at 10st, so it was hard to get used to carrying that extra weight in sparring.

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“In the first two or three weeks I lost half a stone and then I hit a wall at about 10st 10lb, but it’ll be fine. Once I got back into it, everything soon came back to me.”

The 22-year-old, who turned professional in 2012, won his first six paid contests but lost his unbeaten record to Danny ‘Cassius’ Connor in the Prizefighter light-welterweight tournament at York Hall the following year.

Rice recovered with an eight-round victory over Lubos Priehradnik to claim the International Masters bronze title four months later, which he regarded as a stepping stone towards more prestigious honours.

More recently, the Islington fighter has been sparring with Connor at his new training base – Lansbury ABC, Poplar – and he is hopeful, despite his lengthy absence from the ring, of challenging for the Southern Area belt in the near future.

“I don’t want to step down to four-rounders again,” added Rice. “The idea is to get this one out of the way and then my manager said we’ll go for a 10-rounder at the start of the new year.

“This is about blowing the cobwebs off, getting back to fighting again, and hopefully after the 10-rounder I can get a shot at the Southern Area title.

“There are going to be other people in front of me now, so I have to keep working my way up there. I don’t mind taking that step back, I’m going to keep working and if I keep winning then title fights will happen.”

Rice’s comeback is one of 12 bouts scheduled on the bill, which also features former Islington BC captain, unbeaten light-middleweight Aarron Morgan, and Archway’s Tony Milch.

Doors open at 6pm, with boxing due to get under way at 7pm, and tickets are priced at £35 (standard) or £70 (ringside enclosure). Call 020 7352 1593 for further details.

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