A BOXER who nearly lost his life last autumn is back in the gym and eyeing up a comeback fight in the not too distant future.

Tony Borg-trained Dan Barton spent a week in intensive care after contracting a potentially fatal combination of pneumonia and sepsis in October.

Thankfully, the father-of-one from Newport, who was training for a shot at the Welsh middleweight title when he fell ill, pulled through.

And last week, 28-year-old Barton laced up his gloves for the first time in four months, blowing out the cobwebs with a session on the bags at St Joseph’s.

He had been pencilled in to make his comeback on a Sanigar Events show in Merthyr Tydfil on March 9, but Barton has confirmed that is too soon for him.

For now, he is continuing on his path back to full fitness, gradually building up his training regime with a view to fighting again in May or early June.

“I feel fine in terms of my health,” he said. “I do get out of breath a little bit quicker, but I’m getting stronger all the time.

“I was given the green light to start training again towards the end of last year.

“I had to think about how hard I wanted to push it and it was just baby steps to begin with.

“I’ve been building it up gradually and put my gloves on for the first time in four months last week.

“My management wanted me to box on the show in Merthyr but it’s too soon.

“They wanted to set-up a fight for the Welsh title against someone like Geraint Goodridge, Jake Anthony or Alex Hughes.

“There are two great Welsh title fights coming up and they wanted to put another one on.

“I would love it, of course I would, but I’ve got to be realistic. I told them I would have been going in at 60% – I need to be 110%.

“I can’t do 10 rounds at the moment. I don’t mind coming back and having a 10-rounder, I just want to be ready for it.

“Coming back from such a serious illness, I don’t think it’s enough time for me to fight in Merthyr.

“Hopefully I’ll be boxing again in May or very early in the summer. I’m ready to give it a go this year.”

The show in Merthyr does feature Barton’s St Joes stablemate Gavin Gwynne who takes on Aberdeen’s Darren Traynor for the vacant Celtic lightweight strap.

Pontllanfraith’s Kody Davies goes for a first belt in the paid ranks when he clashes with former St Joes man Morgan Jones in a Welsh super-middleweight title fight.

There are also second pro outings for St Joes’ Robbie Vernon and Risca’s Jake Tinklin, while Ebbw Vale’s Jordan Thomas makes his professional debut.

Meanwhile, it seems that a British title eliminator between Blackwood’s WBO European lightweight king Craig Evans and Cardiff’s Joe Cordina – like Evans another ex-St Joes fighter – won’t happen.

Gavin Rees, the former world champion who trains Evans, went on social media earlier this week to criticise his boxer’s manager, Frank Warren, for comments he made in an interview with iFL TV.

Rees says Warren was in the wrong when he claimed that Evans’ father had pulled his son out of the bout.

Rees, writing on Twitter, states that Evans had been “hard in training and 100% wanted the fight”, adding “managers of boxers need to remember they work for the boxer, not the other way around”.