A boxer-turned-wrestler is looking forward to a new challenge after suffering the heartbreak of seeing his career cut short.
Former professional Ryan Davies is the latest recruit for Wigan outfit Grand-Pro Wrestling and is in full-time training with at the club’s martial arts school.
Davies- originally from Blackpool- was a promising professional boxer on the rise when his career ended prematurely in August 2017.
The 31-year-old, who won 12 of his 13 professional fights, was forced to call it a day after a scan revealed a tear on his brain.
But instead of retiring from all sports since hanging up his boxing gloves, Davies has turned to his second passion, professional wrestling, over the past 12 months.
Given the town’s proud history with wrestling, Davies says he didn’t have to agonise over signing for Grand Pro Wrestling..“I was absolutely gutted and totally heartbroken when I found out my boxing career was over. Boxing has been my life and I have sacrificed so much to get where I am today,” he said.
“I could have probably carried on as many fighters do, but if I kept on pulling on the tear it would get larger, and that was playing on my mind. But with the birth of my daughter, family and health are what matters, and I simply wasn’t willing to take that risk.
“But I’ve got a new challenge now which I’m very much looking forward to tackling. It’s very unique as I believe I’m one of the first boxers to go into wrestling full-time.
“I received a call from my friend Johnnie Brannigan who runs GPW asking if I would be willing to give it a go. I was originally very sceptical, but I changed my mind and ended up realising that this could be meant to be.
“I was offered a contract, and signed the dotted line. I’m struggling to think of a better place to learn about wrestling than Wigan because it boasts so much history.
“It’s an absolute honour to compete in a place with so much wrestling history. Two of my all-time favourites- The British Bulldog and The Dynamite Kid- come from Wigan so to follow in their footsteps would be amazing. I want to do everything I can to give back to GPW because they’ve really helped me out after I retired and given me purpose with an athletic field again.
After months of gruelling training, Davies will make his highly-anticipated debut on Saturday, May 18 at the Hindley Rose Club against the towering heavyweight Micky Barnes. And Davies is hoping to rock the crowd in his first outing.
He said: “I’m hoping to deliver an exciting performance.
“I’ve been working so hard in preparation, and I cannot wait to show the world what I can do in a new sport.
“Wigan’s a great town- and I’ve loved spending time here so far with GPW. It’s very similar to back home in that it’s full of friendly people who want to see each other succeed.
“I’ve already got a few good friends here from when I boxed. I’m very friendly with James Moorcroft and Lee Blundell as I used to spar with James. He’s a talented lad- and we’ve had some wars.
“I’ve always admired how everyone from the town have supported James and Lee so if they could potentially take me in as an adopted Wiganer, I’d be honoured and be really grateful for all the support I receive.”