Edinburgh boxer Stephen Simmons has revealed he was on the brink of calling it quits when he felt at his lowest ebb earlier this year.
A split-decision loss in his WBO International title bout against undefeated German Noel Gevor in Hamburg in October left the 32-year-old in pieces, the MTK fighter adamant he had won the fight.
As the weeks wore on, and with little indication of when and where his next bout would be, Simmons admits he found himself on a downwards spiral.
A British title shot in Cardiff against Craig Kennedy in March brought some respite only for the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist to suffer a back injury in preparation for the fight, forcing him to withdraw.
But, as Simmons prepares to end a seven-month hiatus when he steps back into the ring against Latvian Arturs Kulikauskis at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow tomorrow night, he insists he is in a much better place regarding his future.
“After Germany, things weren’t happening and I began to feel so low in myself,” Simmons recalls. “It was brutal trying to pick yourself up to go to the gym and not having dates ... or things then looking likely only to be let down again.
“My wife Nicole was pregnant so I was buzzing about that but the boxing side of things just took over. I know a lot of athletes can feel this way after coming off such a high to then being faced with a real low. I say a real high because despite not getting the decision in Germany, I boxed out of my skin; I was really happy with my performance.
“I impressed a lot of people but then when nothing was forthcoming, I was really thinking of just winding it all in.
“The only person I spoke to and who knew was Nicole but she said we’d pull through it and I’d get back training hard for what lies ahead.
“The British title fight in March was unplanned. My training was so intense in trying to cram everything into such a short space of time that my back went around my kidney area. I had to go to the doctor to have blood tests to make sure everything was okay and thankfully it was just muscle damage.
“But hopefully I’m given the opportunity again and enough time to get a proper training camp in. Craig Kennedy, who I was meant to be fighting, faces Matty Askin next Friday so I’d like a shot at whoever comes through that. I know I can beat anybody. That’s what these promoters try and do, though, by offering a fight with so little time to give their boxer an advantage. I’m rated fourth in Britain so I should be getting these chances.”
However, Simmons doesn’t feel time is on his side with his 33rd birthday fast approaching.
“I’m 32 now, 33 in August, so I want to give the next two years the best possible chance to get further in the sport,” he said. “I have been involved in some big fights in my career but I still want more.
“I’m looking forward to getting back into the ring tomorrow night as it’s been a while. He [Kulikauskis] is a tough southpaw, he comes and tries to have a go so let’s see what he brings.
“I’ve done my apprenticeship, I want the big fights and I feel I deserve them with the way I have been progressing. Let’s get the cobwebs dusted off and then I’ll speak to my management team in Marbella over the weekend and let’s see what can be done.”