Horncastle’s champion kickboxer Jamie Key has hit the comeback trail - after 12 months on the sidelines.
The 25-year-old British titleholder and World Championship contender has returned to training after an enforced break.
Key revealed he had been struggling with a back injury and also took time out for the birth of he and his partner’s baby girl Isla Aurora Rose.
But Key - backed by new sponsors - has revealed he has rediscovered his appetite for the sport.
He said: “I’d been struggling with the back injury for a long time and I wasn’t 100 per cent in a lot of my fights.
“I didn’t say anything at the time because I didn’t want anyone to know about it. I didn’t want people to think I was using it as an excuse.
“The problem was I couldn’t even train properly. I’d be okay for 20 minutes but that would be it.”
Despite being below his best, Key returned from last year’s World Championships in Italy with a bronze medal from the team event and a quarter final place in the individual competition.
To win bronze, he defeated the current world heavyweight champion and only narrowly lost to another world number one in the individual.
Key added: “When I got back from Italy, I decided enough was enough. There was a stage when I thought I wouldn’t fight again but I’ve really missed it because I love competing so much,”
Key is full of praise for Robert Ferguson, a Horncastle acupuncturist based at the War Memorial Hospital.
He added: “Robert has been brilliant. Without his help, I wouldn’t be even thinking about a comeback.
Key is now sponsored by another Horncastle-based business PC Hut and his new employers ‘Squawk on the Wild Side’ who are reptile specialists at Lyndhurst Garden Centre in Skegness.
He explained. “It’s great they are helping me. I haven’t done that much training but I’m fighting in the British Championships this weekend.
“We’ll see how that goes and take it from there. It will mainly be small events I concentrate on at first. Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few trophies.“