FORMER pub landlord Brett Flournoy hopes he will be toasting success by winning Prizefighter Light-Middleweights.
Flournoy is one of eight boxers in Barry Hearn's next Prizefighter tournament, set for February 26 at London's York Hall in Bethnal Green.
However, Flournoy has rediscovered his love for the sport after he nearly called time on his boxing career to become landlord of The Brown Cow pub in Bebington, Merseyside.
He spent two years in the role and was out of the ring for 17 months before returning to action last October.
"I buy and sell properties and a local pub came up and it was a chance to get a steady income," explained Flournoy.
"I did a refurbishment for £200,000 but it didn't work out so I cut my losses at Christmas.
"I took it on for my dad and he wanted to spend time with his grand kids. It was a chance for a family business and he was helping me out.
"But I hated being a pub landlord as it just wasn't me and was taking up too much time. I just missed being in the ring and I saw the other lads in the gym like Carl Dilks, who I was in the army with for six years, do well in Prizefighter.
"I was close to giving up boxing. In April 2008 I boxed a journeyman Russian (Vladimir Borovsky) and threw up after the fourth round. I beat him on points but I hadn't trained and was completely unfit and made the fight so much harder than it should have been.
"I thought to myself that I couldn't afford to be a landlord and give boxing 100 per cent and people were asking if my heart was in boxing.
"If you don't put your heart into it then you're falling short and I didn't want to get into the game just being a bum.
"But now I'm enjoying training and boxing and I hadn't enjoyed it since I first turned professional."
Flournoy has thrown himself into training and sparred alongside recognised names like David Barnes and Kevin Anderson.
He is the bookmakers' underdog to win Prizefighter but believes a successful night on February 26 will lead to his dream of becoming British Champion.
"I don't box for the money - I just want a British title on my mantelpiece," added Flournoy. "That's all I've ever wanted to do so the kids have something to look at and be proud of.
"I'm just going to give it my best shot, but I know how good I can be. I'm the underdog but I was when I won the ABAs and now I'm back and really eager to win Prizefighter."
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