HYDE champion boxer Stacey Copeland is officially back in the ring after stepping up her comeback from a knee injury.
The Godley-based fighter, who is still waiting to organise a world title shot after winning the Commonwealth super-welterweight title, has been plagued by a knee problem for more than a year.
But in a major boost for her hopes of a comeback, Stacey has stepped back into the ring to take part in sparring sessions from Friday, November 1.
The 38-year-old announced: “I had my first spar in months.
“Last time I sparred I was on crutches for a week after but no knee issues, so we went again.
“The huge ups and downs in sport are unreal but it’s one rollercoaster ride I’d always choose to be on.”
Stacey has done nothing but be forced to wait since her Commonwealth title triumph in July last year.
She admitted the frustration got on top of her at times while she had to improvise in a bid to stay fit.
Stacey added: “In boxing terms it’s been an extremely frustrating time due to injuries, including two surgeries and a number of injections and procedures.
“I have been able to train most of the time by finding ways around it, such as training one handed while my injured hand was in a sling.
“Then designing a circuit that I could do even while on crutches – earning some funny looks in the gym that’s for sure!”
Stacey has continued to keep busy and on Thursday, November 7, she was among the nominees in the Emerging Talent category at the O2 Media Awards North West at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium, where the Correespondent’s sister title, Saddleworth Independent, was nominated for the Community Newspaper award.
As well as work with ITV and BBC, she is involved with the Pave The Way foundation and does public speaking to business, foundations and schools.
She also has a ‘day job’ working at Manchester’s Parrs Wood Secondary School but there are times where she feels alone.
She continued: “Long periods of injury can feel lonely so I’m fortunate to have people around me who are positive, who focus on solutions rather than the obstacles and who maintain belief in me.
“On days when I have felt really despondent and been low on ‘positive fuel’ that’s when it has been so important to have people in my life who I think of as positive petrol pumps! People I can go to who refuel me and have the words to keep me upbeat.
“My coach Blain Younis has been brilliant, always making me feel like a valued part of our team, taking my training sessions seriously even when it’s just been waiting for a surgery, and always helping me believe that I can come back and fight again.
“Having so many activities outside of boxing has been particularly helpful, nothing is the same as boxing and nothing fills that void, but it is better to have some things to focus on than nothing at all.”