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Gidney's back after the greatest fight of his life; SECONDSOUT Boxing talk with JOHN GIBSON BRAVERY OF ILL DAUGHTER INSPIRES TITLE HOPEFUL.

Byline: JOHN GIBSON

COURAGEOUS Paul Gidney returns to the ring on Saturday after 20 months out while his young daughter fought cancer.

The South Shields-based super bantamweight is back after his family suffered the toughest of all fights. Having begun his career in the paid ranks with two straight wins, defeating Anwar Alfadi and Phil Hervey on points, Paul was suddenly rocked with the news that daughter Poppy, then aged just one, had lung and liver cancer.

The boxing world rallied around Paul, his partner Kayla, and little Poppy as she battled to beat off her grave condition and emerge smiling at the other end.

For Gidney those 20 months out of the ring have afforded time for reflection and he returns at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington on Saturday afternoon with eyes on the prize that is being contested by rivals Chrissy Wood and Jamie Humble at the top of the card he appears on.

"I strongly believe now that if I can overcome Poppy's illness then I can overcome a ten-round fight," he said. "She's all that matters and we all know that family comes first hence the time out, but now I'm back it's time to get on track."

Fighting at super bantamweight, southpaw Gidney knows that, once the dust settles on the headline Northern Area title fight, he can get a shot - providing he overcomes Luke Fash of course.

"If Chrissy can get a shot after three fights then so can I," maintained Gidney. "I've fought Jamie before in the amateurs and he's only had five so yes, I would qualify to face the winner.

"Jamie calling me out already doesn't mean much, he's not fought Chrissy yet, but for me when I get past Luke then yes I'll call out the winner though that doesn't mean it'll be Jamie.

"He doesn't want to take his opponent too lightly as everyone goes in with a chance of winning but I believe I can beat the both of them.

"Maybe Jamie is thinking that after he beat me in the amateurs he could do it now but that was then, over three rounds. He fights on the back foot but he won't be able to run for 10 rounds. I'll happily fight either of them but we have to win on Saturday first. I am the best around here at this weight so can't wait to start showing it."

With Poppy having been given the all-clear, taking in monthly checkups, Paul returned to the gym with time to make up, fights to be had, and titles to win.

"To be honest I haven't fully been out of the gym," admitted Gidney. "I just needed something that I could focus on and it makes it even more exciting that there is the title that I want being contested at the top of the same card. Making the weight won't be an issue.

"I'm not getting any younger so I know I need to push on."

| The 'Xmas Cracker' takes place on Saturday afternoon. Doors open from noon, boxing from 1.30pm.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 28, 2017
Words:513
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