By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
IT’S seven months since Derry Mathews called it quits.
But those who are ready to walk away from the ring too can learn from him.
The Liverpool lightweight may have lost to Ohara Davies but he cried tears of joy in the dressing room with his family and friends in March.
It was the relief that it was finally over, even though he had already realised he was not going to be a world champion long before he faced the up-and-coming Londoner.
Mathews, 34, still has the addiction though.
The craving that calls so many back to the ring is present as his mind wanders when talk of how retirement is going comes around.
“It’s a drug, that’s all I can think of,” the former world title challenger said.
“I’ve been tempted to come back but I’ve listened to the best advice I can, that is to stay away and I will.”
Mathews is the perfect example of how boxers should deal with retirement by avoiding comebacks that can lead to taking needless punches.
He had a good professional career with boxing politics playing a big part in him never getting a world title.
But he didn’t earn the millions that would mean he never has to work again.
Mathews’ choice of how to acclimatise to retirement from the ring is running a gym. He also owns a small cafe in his hometown.
He is in the gym from 7am until 9pm between coaching seven professionals with George Vaughan, running fitness classes and training members of his new amateur club ‘Derry ABC’.
Mathews also keeps an eye on the amateur career of his son, Derry Jnr, so there is little time to rest and spend with his wife, Michelle, and their new daughter, never mind consider a comeback.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, there is always another career,” he said. “I’ve worked hard all my life, I’ve grafted in the gym and if I can put that into the management and coaching side of things then I can be successful at that.”
Mathews’ other advice to young fighters is that unless you’re earning the kind of money Anthony Joshua gets then watch the pennies as there is a lot of life to live after boxing.
He added: “How many boxers retire and don’t own a house? They just want to go spend their money, be in nightclubs and want to be known as a superstar.
“Once your boxing career is over, where do you go? I’ve been lucky enough to buy a house, I’ve bought a business. I’m one of the lucky ones but I’ve earned my own luck.
“When I first turned professional I was a d***head, I was buying stupid cars, wanting watches, the best clothes, £400 trainers – it’s no good when your career is over. Over the last couple of years I’ve been sensible.”
His aim is now to lead boxers to titles and there is certainly a lot to learn from a fighter who has seen it all.