STUART Brookes will have an army of supporters behind him when he makes his emotional return to the ring at the Doncaster Dome tonight.
The unbeaten Mexborough middleweight will step between the ropes for the first time since the shock death of his brother and fellow boxer Scott in 2008.
And a major section of the sold out crowd will be there to cheer him on against Scunthorpe’s Steve Spence in his 12th professional bout.
His story has captured the imagination of the Mexborough public with his allocation of tickets to sell going incredibly quickly.
Brookes’ trainer Stefy Bull has predicted his supporters will be in for a treat.
Bull told the Times: “To say Stuart’s not boxed for three years he’s looking really good.
“He’s kept himself fit with running and football in that time so it didn’t take him long to settle back into boxing training.
“Sparring has been very good as well.
“Obviously there’s a lot of ring rust there but with the way he’s going I don’t think it’ll take him long to shake it.
“Hopefully he’ll get back in there and show something of what he was doing three years ago.”
Brookes looked set to make a return in the summer of 2009 but walked away again after describing training without his brother as a ‘lonely and empty experience.’
Bull says his man now knows the time is right for his comeback.
He said: “It clearly wasn’t right for him last time around, he didn’t really want to be anywhere near a boxing ring.
“But he’s sure he’s doing the right thing this time.
“He knows Scott would have wanted him to carry on.
“He’s got a massive amount of potential and he’s got the big fight experience when he boxed in Las Vegas.”
Swinton fighter Tommy Coward is also on the bill tonight and will use his bout with Liam Griffiths as the latest springboard towards a title match.
Coward has won all five of his professional bouts so far and Bull is targeting a title contest early next year.
He said: “Tommy is improving all the time and I’d have no problem putting him in for a title fight.
“He’s not had regular fights really but he’s never been out of the gym so he’s always ready to go.
“There’s a lot more to come from him and I think he’ll be wearing a title in the New Year.”
Coward looks set to drop to welterweight in the near future and Bull is predicting big things at the lower weight class.
Bull said: “Tommy walks around at 11 stone so I don’t think he’ll have any problem getting down to welterweight.
“He can be a strong kid at that level and I think it’ll suit him.”
Regardless of the outcome of the fights at the Dome, tomorrow night will have been a success for Bull who has picked up his first experience of promoting alongside Carl Greaves.
He said: “The Dome is a complete sell out and I think that’s the first time that’s happened for a boxing show since I fought Gwyn Wale.
“It’s brilliant to have the card packed with local lads because the atmosphere will be fantastic with the support they’re all taking.”
Bull manages fighters in all seven scheduled bouts including Doncaster fighters Gavin McDonnell, Connor Nixon and Charlie Thompson, Barnsley’s Andy Townend and Kent’s Adam Dingsdale.