Maidstone’s George Hennon is returning to the ring for the first time in almost six years.
The fighter, who has had five professional boxing bouts, will face 136-fight veteran Fonz Alexander at York Hall in London this Saturday.
The 27-year-old’s last fight was in July 2016, which is when he decided to take a break, but he’s since been back in training for a year.
Originally from Snodland, but now residing in Maidstone, Hennon revealed he has a new team.
He said: “I’m with Steve Goodwin now, as my manager, this is my first fight under him at the York Hall, which is ideal for everyone and a great venue.
“I’m being trained by George O’Mahoney, I’m his first pro and he’s an absolutely brilliant trainer. Not just in the gym, but he’s always ringing me up and checking I’m all right.
“There’s not much in the game that he doesn’t know, so training is going really well.
“I’m enjoying training and really enjoying going to the gym.”
Hennon’s return has really piqued local interest, with 250 fans set to descend upon the East End to support him.
One of his admirers is former England captain John Terry, who saw the video of the Chelsea fan training in his gym on social media and immediately messaged to offer his support.
Terry has been supporting him ever since, sharing messages on social media and texting him personally to offer his best wishes.
Hennon and his trainer have taken to the road to visit other gyms for sparring.
“We’ve been down to Kent Gloves with Lee Page for sparring with Lenny Fuller, Radoslav Saraliisk and Brooklyn Tilley,” I explained.
“Also [we have] been to Westree ABC to spar with young Jimmy Dean [Wood] and Mason Payne – they’re really good amateurs – [and we] went to the Peacock Gym in Essex to spar Aaron Foster. That was a good spar.”
It was seven years ago in June 2015 when Hennon made his professional debut, but a lot has changed since then. His mindset of him has matured, his body bulked and his understanding of him upgraded.
“That’s a huge thing that I’ve matured with, understanding my body, like you really do need that recovery,” I explained.
“Don’t get me wrong, I always still try to overtrain. If I’m about to go to bed and haven’t done any training all day, it’ll eat me up. I have to train, even on a Sunday I feel like I need to do a light jog, but, no, you need your rest, you need to recover.
“Now I know that, I feel like I do try and have a day, like on a Sunday, where I relax and just have an active recovery walk, like for 5k or something.”
A scaffolder, Hennon has dropped down to working just a few days each week with the help of sponsors to concentrate on his boxing.
“I feel like I could earn money at any time,” he added. “But I feel like for these next five to seven years, I’m just going to dedicate myself to boxing.”
With four victories and one loss, Hennon was due to fight at the Copper Box Arena in a show promoted by Frank Warren that was broadcast on BT Sport.
World champions James DeGale and Lee Selby were on that same card, but Hennon was forced to withdraw through injury just weeks before.
That disappointment became the catalyst for his temporary retirement.
Hennon was only 21 when he entered the professional scene and semi-retired at 22, so a lot has changed since then now that he is about to be 28 in a few weeks’ time.
“Before I was still a baby really, my outlook on it was a lot different. I’ve matured so much more,” he commented.
“In a sense I wanted to do it [boxing]but it wasn’t solely for me, I thought I just had to keep being ‘George the boxer’ and thought it was just expected of me, but I took a step back and this time around it’s all off my own back, it’s for myself and I want it now.
“My whole mindset now is that I’ve given my whole childhood, since six-years-old, training and fighting all through secondary school. Growing up all the boys were going out but I couldn’t.
“I’ve given so much to the fight game not to get something back out of it.
“I don’t feel like I’m owed something, but I’ve given so much to it, it would be silly for me not to try and make a career out of it.”
For tickets for Hennon’s comeback fight at York Hall, visit his Facebook page.