Burnley boxer Lee Bennett returns to the ring

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OSCAR De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Robinson, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman - all renowned kings of boxing comebacks.

Each suffered a fall from grace, yet all five mounted revivals of epic proportions to silence the critics and become the best in their respective weight divisions.

Burnley’s Lee Bennett may never achieve the grandeur or eminence of boxing’s greats, or impact on the world stage as they did, but his return after a 19-month absence will be just as big to family, friends and supporters close to him.

The 26-year-old welterweight made his debut in the professional ranks in May last year when, despite sustaining cuts above both eyes, he defeated Joe Smith at Colne Muni.

It’s been somewhat of a rocky road since with cancellations and a change in management hindering his progress, but he’s back and ready to make an instant impression tonight at Colne Muni’s Friday Fight Night.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I hate the waiting about, I just want to get in the ring and put all my training in to practice.

“It’s been a bit disheartening. A lot of time, effort and money goes in to it and you do all the training and preparation off your own back so it’s frustrating when it gets cancelled. These things sometimes go against you but I’m back now.”

Lee and brother Wayne have transferred their allegiances to Damien Jones who trains them intensely at Astley VIP, near Manchester. And Lee admits, regardless of the lengthy absence, that he’s remained fully focused throughout.

“It’s been a while but I’ve never stopped training,” said. Lee. “There’s been the odd complication but all that’s been put on the back-burner now. I’ve been training hard to remain focussd and I’m really looking forward to getting back in to the ring. It’s what I need; I’ve been desperate to get back in there.”

Tonight’s opponent is 31-year-old Birmingham fighter Andrew Patterson who boasts four KOs from as many career victories.

“I just want to keep it going continuously now,” Lee said. “My opponent is a half-decent fighter, a tough bloke. He’s going to come forward from the start to try and get some big shots in. But I’m ready for it. I’m going to put pressure on him and put him on the back foot.”

Tickets for tonight’s show can still be purchased by calling Lee, who is sponsored by Koko’s, Twenty Four Estates Ltd, Durkin Premier Landscapes and Burnley Car Sales and Valets, by calling 07857 713797.