JOHN THAIN has been on quite a rollercoaster over the past year.

The boxer has had to cope with having a deal which would have seen him become a star in his mother’s native land of the Philippines snatched away from him and as a result, seriously considered giving up the sport he loves and has dedicated so much of his life to.

Thain turned professional in 2010 and has fought for the British title in the past so when the offer from the Philippines came up, it seemed like this was going to be his big break. A four-fight deal was on the table which would not only have made him considerable money, it would also have seen him make a real name for himself in his mother’s homeland and the country which produced Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest boxers in the sport.

“I used the first part of last year to train and then a promoter got in touch, from the Philippines. They wanted to build a star. And as someone who was mixed Filipino, someone who was Scottish-Filipino, I could be very marketable,” the 32-year-old said.

“Neil Etheridge is the goalkeeper for the Filipino national team but he was brought up in England and he’s a big star in the Philippines.  

“So they saw the potential there with me. The plan was for me to go there and have a four-fight deal. It sounded great.”

But as so often happens in boxing, the promises did not come to fruition and the deal fell through.

The promoter then offered Thain a fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, but to rub salt into the wounds, that also fell through.

It was a tough time for the Edinburgh fighter, who had build up considerable debts ahead of what he thought was the chance of a lifetime and there were spells, he admitted, when he seriously considered hanging up his gloves for good.

But having learned a few valuable lessons, plus the support from his family, as well as retaining a love for the sport he had been immersed in for most of his life, meant there was something in him that drove him to give things another go. It has not been an easy journey though.

“It taught me a lot,” Thain said of last year. 

“It taught me that if you’re going to put all your eggs in one basket, you better have a back-up plan, just in case it doesn’t work out.

“I absolutely had thoughts of chucking it. I’d be sitting thinking what am I doing? But I didn’t, I kept going. Boxing is still my passion.

“The hard part has been having to rebuild. What I’ve learnt to do though is separate the sport side of things from the business side of things. In boxing, the business is money. Top boxers earn a fortune but the whole sport isn’t like that.

"Winning is the thing that keeps you going more than anything, that’s the part of it I love whereas the business side of it, things like how many tickets can you sell, that’s the hard part of it. That side of it can make you feel like you aren’t worth much.

“People will say to me that I’m one of the nicest guys in boxing but it’s hard to be nice when things like that happen. You don’t want to play the victim because that can make you feel weak. The hard part is trying to feel positive when you feel like things just aren’t working out.”

So, after eighteen months out of the ring, Thain returns to action this evening and knows this is his chance to show everyone that he’s back.

Tonight in Belfast, Thain will take on the highly-rated Northern Irishman, Lewis Crocker, in a fight that the welterweight hopes will put him back on the road to fighting for titles.

Crocker is undefeated while Thain’s record is 17 wins and four losses but the Scot is confident his experience will tell when the first bell goes.

And with the Edinburgh man feeling happier than he ever has in boxing terms, he admits he cannot wait to take to the ring.

“Part of the reason this is the happiest I’ve felt is because I’m doing this for myself. In the past, I’ve felt like there’s been people to please or keep happy whereas now, I’m doing this for me,” he said.

“It’s a long time since I boxed so this is an exciting opportunity. I don’t feel like there’s any pressure on me so that’s a nice feeling.

“This fight is to show that I’m back. I feel like I’m starting with a clean slate and I’m just really looking forward to getting back into the ring now.”