Michael Peart returns to the ring after battling back from illness
- Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO
Islington boxer Michael Peart returns to action this weekend after winning the biggest fight of his life outside the ring.
The 28-year-old father of one fights for the first time in more than a year at York Hall on Saturday, after battling back from a debilitating illness which left him incapacitated in the blink of an eye.
Southpaw Peart was planning to make up for lost time last July after turning pro at 27 and winning his debut fight, but within weeks he was struck down with reactive arthritis.
“I could not even walk,” he told the Gazette. “I couldn’t even go to the toilet on my own. My system works too well, apparently, and so started attacking perfectly healthy tissue.”
Weeks of medication followed, but with little sign of progress and a return to the ring was ooking increasingly unlikely. Peart took the ‘physician heal thyself’ approach and dumped the pills in favour of positive thinking.
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The road back to the ring has been a long one, but Peart insisted he is not gambling with his health by stepping back between the ropes.
“I’m strong mentally so I just believed eventually I’d start to feel better,” he said.
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“Even when I was training again I suffered setbacks where I would train fine, but wake up in the morning sore.
“I still have good and bad days, but I know I’m well enough to fight now. I wouldn’t gamble with my health. Boxing is a risk, but I would never get in a ring if I was putting my health at risk any more than normal.”
Getting back into shape has been tough for Peart, a bus driver by trade, fitting training around work and the arrival nine weeks ago of his son, Kylen.
His new addition is doing well, but provides plenty of motivation for Peart to work hard ahead of his return to what he sees as the Mecca of boxing.
“There’s nothing like a baby crying to get you out of the house and down the gym!” he added.
“Work shifts mean I sometimes have to train alone at 2am in the morning, but going back to York Hall will be special.
“It is the home of boxing for me. All the legends have fought there and every boxer I know wants to fight there.
“You have the big shows at Wembley and the O2, but there will always be something special about York Hall.”