CEFN Fforest fighter Robbie Turley finally returns to the ring tonight after a two-year enforced absence, writes Andrew Penman.
Now 27, the former Welsh and Celtic super-bantamweight champion has not fought since March 2012 when he stopped Scotland’s Gavin Reid for the Celtic belt in Cardiff.
Since then Turley has endured a nightmare two years after a routine brain scan found a microscopic amount of blood on a pineal cyst in his brain.
That caused the British Boxing Board of Control to take action but neurosurgeons have since insisted there is no risk to his health and Turley is at last able to box again.
And tonight is the night he’s been waiting for as he takes on South African Michael Ramabeletsa over six rounds at Merthyr Leisure Centre.
“I’m excited. I’m ready to go now and get back where I’m meant to be,” said the St Joseph’s-trained fighter.
“When I’m walking into that ring, with all my fans singing and chanting my name it will be brilliant.
“Hopefully I’ll get the win and sometime soon I’ll be fighting for a title again.”
Ramabeletsa lost out 95-94 on points to Ryan Doyle for the International Masters featherweight title on March 8 and Turley knows he’s in for a tough test after so long out of action.
“I don’t know a lot about him but his record is 50-50 and he’s beaten some good boys so I won’t be underestimating him,” he said.
“We know he’s fit because he fought for a title the other week and lost by one point, and he had a point taken off in that fight so he’s tough.
“I’ll be rusty,” he added. “I’ve had good sparring at St Joes but 25 months out is going to be in your head.
“And I’m nervous now but that’s a good feeling. I’ll use those nerves and I’ll be ready. If I’m not ready now I’m never going to be.”
Top of the bill on the Sanigar Promotions Welsh Pride show is the Welsh middleweight title defence for Turley’s St Joes stablemate Frankie Borg against hometown hero Kerry Hope.
Three weeks prior to a meeting with Chris Eubank Jnr in London, Merthyr’s former European light-middleweight champion Hope will be looking to add his picture to the local boxing hall of fame.
The former Team Calzaghe man is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Howard Winstone, Jimmy Wilde and Johnny Owen when he takes on Cardiff’s Borg.
The main event will be shown live on Eurosport at 9pm tonight but the undercard gets under way at 6.30pm.