Sunny Edwards (14-0) capped off a successful 2019 with a British super-flyweight title win over Marcel Braithwaite at the Copper Box in December – a fifth title won in his last four fights.
His final achievement came at a cost, however, and any training Sunny participates in for the next couple of months will have to be hands-free, as he explains in the latest Queensberry Promotion's Fighter Diary series, "Unfortunately I picked up a couple of unwanted souvenirs from my last fight and, no, I am not talking about bruises on my backside! I’ve got two redundant fists that I am not allowed to punch with for the next eight weeks.
"To be truthful, my hands were not in a great place before the fight. My right hand hadn’t recovered from my fight against (Rosendo Hugo) Guarneros and my left went three weeks out because I was doing a lot of punching with it to make up for the right.
"I was doing a 12 round spar against three different opponents and, in the fourth, my left went from the southpaw position. I didn’t punch for about two and a half week before my fight against Marcel Braithwaite and I did the workout beforehand on soft pads just to get a feel of it and they did feel ok, to be fair.
"Obviously, at the back of my mind, I knew there was damage there before the fight but everything is a calculated risk and it paid off because I am now British champion.
"Maybe I didn’t perform as people might expect me to now, but it is hard when you have got two bust up hands. By the second round both hands were gone, a time when he was trying to fight inside and make it scrappy, I didn’t feel comfortable or find it necessary to trade inside. I tried to make it long-range and score with the clean necessary punches that I had to. That was the game plan.
"I did get caught in the seventh round but that is really what switched me on and the following rounds were probably my five best ones of the fight.
"Perhaps if I was coming up against someone who I deemed to be world level, or imagined to be a bigger threat, then I wouldn’t have got in the ring with them."
"I’ve had a very, very busy year. I’ve had six title fights in under 14 months, so that is back to back camps where I have been sparring, helping out other lads and non-stop throwing punches. This rest now is overdue.
"I don’t regret the activity. It is just that I got a bit unlucky with injuries. It is the way I am, I don’t turn down a single fight and I like having goal and like being in the gym.
"I turned pro two weeks after my brother Charlie had his first world title fight. I became 1-0 just after his ninth fight. I am now 14-0 and he has had 16 pro fights.
"So people do underestimate how busy I actually am. I don’t want anything else because I like to be boxing and, even yesterday when I sat in the gym with my little boy while the others were training, I felt like I was missing out.
"I will have my downtime now but only because the doctors have told me to do so. It is not as bad as first thought, my hands are not fractured and the ligament injury that was feared is not the case. It is just the constant hitting of little tendons and the repetitive nature of what we do."
"I have mentioned the prospect of a rematch with Braithwaite and, I must admit, first and foremost in my thinking is I need to defend this thing three times. And, to be fair, he put me down and gave me a harder night’s work than I thought he was going to. I said he can have it and I am more than willing to keep that promise if I can.
"I was actually on the phone to Marcel the other day for over an hour – we do get on outside of boxing – and we were speaking about whether the other British boys will step up and have a go. There still, even after a sub-par performance and injuries to my hands, isn’t anybody calling me out.
"I want to get my voluntary, mandatory and voluntary done as quickly as possible. There is not a massive queue wanting to fight me. I want to win the belt outright and I really don’t care who against – I would fight Ryan Farrag again.
"I’d like to see Marcel fight Quaise Khademi because he is mandatory for the English and it would make perfect sense for me to fight the winner of that.
"I think Joe Maphosa would fight me but I don’t think there is any chance of Harvey Horn fighting me. Not a chance. He would never choose to spar me or enter a championship when I was in it because he knew how it would look if he lost to me. So we might have a bit of a wait for that one."
Fight fans can all agree that the prospect of Sunny defending his Lonsdale belt to Joe Maphosa (9-0); Quaise Khademi (8-0); Ryan Farrag (20-4); or Marcel Braithwaite (9-2) will certainly be worth looking forward to in 2020.