AN Earby boxer is pleased to put a turbulent 2020 behind him and finally focus on a jam-packed schedule this year which will hopefully conclude with him lifting a belt.

Josh Holmes is the boxing pride of the town. After enjoying a successful amateur career, where he was a two-time Yorkshire champion and won 24 out of his 29 fights, Holmes turned over in 2019 and has since had his hand raised in all five of his contests.

The process, however, of making it to the professional ranks did not come easy.

"I thought I was never going to box again, "said Holmes, who has sparred in Freddie Roach's Wild card gym in Hollywood as an amateur.

"I picked up a bad hand injury then a trampoline accident caused an injury on my neck.

"I went travelling for a little bit to New Zealand and gave up on boxing.

"I had been a year out of the sport then my injuries got better, and the hunger came back. I just needed to get back into the sport.

"I had a really good opportunity in Austria to train with a few people and that got me back into the swing of things.

"They were teaching me the pro style which had always suited me better anyway during the amateurs."

By the time the Lancashire fighter stepped back into the ring it had been two years since his last visit. Though, it would be hard to tell as he dispatched journeyman Naheem Ali comfortably.

Three more fights would follow in a busy 2019 before the pandemic disrupted the 25-year-old's career briefly.

"I finally got the injury on my hand that I suffered in the amateurs operated on at the end of November. I was back punching then Covid hit.

"I kept in shape throughout it though, even running my first ever marathon. Luckily, an opportunity came at the end of the year. "

And it was certainly a bizarre one. Manager Kevin Maree sorted Holmes out with a place on Dennis Hobson's outdoor car park show in Sheffield.

"That was a different experience, not something I was used too. It was a little strange being outside with the cars beeping but it is the same job that you have to get done. "

The 5-0 prospect is now attempting to follow in the footsteps of a fellow featherweight. Leeds' Josh Warrington began on the small hall circuit and ended up becoming world champion.

"His work ethic is second to none," Holmes added. "He started off the hard way with not much backing. He then worked his way up from central title to English then British now world. He is a good example.

"My coach Rob Rimmer has taught me well; I am a totally different boxer. He has big hopes for me.

"I have had five four rounders so the next couple will be at six and then step up to eight. Covid permitting, I stay busy this year and reach 10-0.

"To end on an area title would be really good and put me in good stead for next year."