Steven 'Fierce' Pearce hangs up the gloves
Stourbridge's Steven Pearce will be swapping the ring for the corner from now on after announcing his retirement on health grounds.
The former Midlands welterweight champion is hanging his gloves up at the age of 31 after a spell at light middle,
'Fierce Pearce' has a recurring ear injury that has already perforated twice, with doctors advising his hearing could be permanently damaged if it happens again.
He was due to compete on Errol Johnson's Black Country Boxing and ring legend Ricky Hatton's joint promotion on Saturday May 14. Rowley Regis' Jason Welborn has replaced him.
But he will continue to be a part of Shaun Cooper's Coops Boxing Camp in Brierley Hill and he joins Lindon Scarlett, Ray 'Raza' Campbell and Mick Warby on the coaching staff.
He'll also be launching his own boxing academy when the venue is free on Saturdays, having already obtained his qualifications as he planned for life after being a fighter.
He said: "It's been a really hard call to make. I've perforated my ear drum for a third time and I just can't risk losing my hearing.
"I did it in sparring the first time and then against Amir Unsworth last year. It was a mad fight that I won, but I think that's the kind of fighter I'll be remembered as.
"I have had constant ringing in my ear and the doctors have told me I could go deaf if I damage it again, so it isn't worth the risk. I think my time has passed, so I have decided to call it a day.
"It's very frustrating. There is only so much you can do and it has been so annoying. At 31, my time has passed and I have to accept it.
"I was going to fight this season out, maybe try and go for a title in June and then I planned to retire anyway. I just wanted to do it out of choice and not be forced.
"Now I will be working with the other professional boxers in Shaun's stable, along with doing personal training for people of all abilities.
"I will be helping males or females with any type of ambition. In the week days, after finishing my day job as a maintenance worker, is when I'll be with the pros.
"Weekends will see me putting something back by helping anyone from the local community who wants to come down to the gym, get fit and learn the art of boxing.
"It's the next step and I'm looking forward to it. I can look back on what I achieved with great pride."
Pearce calls time with 11 wins from 16, four inside the scheduled distance. He got the job done early against Matt Seawright, Luke Gallear for the Midlands title, Rob Hunt and Unsworth.
Seawright was on a BoxNation-televised bill, Gallear fell in five, Hunt was counted out in the same session while Unsworth retired after six. The latter two were for the now-defunct Masters titles.
Three of his four TKO losses were to men who have either challenged or held the British title in Glenn Foot, Sam Eggington and Bradley Skeete.
The other was his last fight, against Adam Little for the English crown. Ryan Hardy also outpointed him in a 10-rounder.
He said: "Another reason I decided to retire was I was getting to a level where my opponents were full-time.
"I was working 40 hours a week as a builder, so I had to fit training in around that. Adam Little was training in Las Vegas in the Wildcard Gym with Freddie Roach, while I was laying bricks.
"It just wasn't a level playing field, but I have had some cracking fights. My favourite was when I went down to Burton on four days' notice to fight for the area title.
"I took out Luke Gallear in five rounds. I dropped him in the second and finished it in the fifth to win the title, which was way more than anyone expected from me.
"That led me to a first defence against what proved to be my hardest fight, against Sam. We went toe-to-toe for seven rounds.
"He stopped me in the seventh, but I probably gave Sam his hardest fight in many ways and he went on to be the British and Commonwealth champion.
"He told me that I was the hardest fight he has had and he has been in with superstars. Sam is a good pal of mine and he has done really well.
"He is a great lad and I hope he can come back off his loss to a guy I've also shared a ring with in Bradley Skeete.
"Skeete is a lot better than what people say. People think he looks skinny and weak, but he's a fantastic mover and reads the fight like Floyd Mayweather Jnr.
"He seems to know what you are going to do before you do it. He's a genius in the ring. I was on him but I made one wrong move and it was over, because he is that good."
Coops Camp is located at Unit 17, the Premier Industrial Estate, Leys Road, Brierley Hill, DY5 3UP. To find out more about Pearce's boxing academy, call 07875 653 842.
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