THERE is no cake to accompany the coffee he has just ordered and it is in a small rather than medium or large cup.

Kash Farooq will never throw a punch again but the same virtues and values that drove him tantalisingly close to the top in boxing are evidently still thriving within him.

Few were as diligent as the 26-year-old during his time as a professional, Farooq famously rarely taking a holiday and often returning to training just days after a draining contest. It made the announcement at the start of the year that he would have to retire on medical grounds something of a cruel twist. He could not have given or done more.

Ten months after being forced to quit and the Glaswegian is in stoic, philosophical form inside a bustling Starbucks just off the M8. Any regrets at seeing his boxing journey terminated just when he was about to step up to world level, heralded by promoter Eddie Hearn as the sport’s next superstar, have long since faded. It is about looking forward rather than back for Farooq now.

He looks in terrific fettle, with no sign of any extra pounds that recently-retired athletes can often accumulate. Little wonder. A creature of routine, Farooq still gets up early every morning for a run around the Scotstoun area of Glasgow where he still lives. He would have little problem dipping under the bantamweight limit (around 8-and-a-half stone) should he ever decide to get back into the ring. But it is not a door he plans on reopening.

“My worst nightmare came true when they took my [boxing] licence off me,” he admits. “And it took a lot of time to absorb that and get over it. But it gradually becomes just another long-distance memory. My health is going to be fine which is the main thing.

“With what I know now it would be difficult for me to come back. I promised myself that when I walked away there would be no coming back. If they offered to give me back my licence tomorrow I still wouldn’t fight. It’s a part of my life that’s been and gone. You can’t let yourself get down. If you do, then you’re defeated right away. You take it and you move on to the next thing. Dwelling on something is what ruins people.

“Some people come into boxing and go out again without having done anything. But I won titles, got to a good level and set myself up financially for the next phase of my life. So it wasn’t for nothing. I didn’t make millions so I can’t retire sadly! But I can look back on what I achieved with a lot of pride.

“I never watched any of my fights when I was active. There was never time for that. But I’ve gone back recently and watched a few. You can appreciate it more now that it’s over.”

It was not just Farooq who was affected by his sudden retirement. The paperwork had been completed on a re-match with Lee McGregor, a fight that would have likely sold out the Hydro. The Edinburgh boxer had won the first fight on points – a contentious decision– and the second was hugely anticipated. With the Farooq fight off the table, however, McGregor’s career has stalled.

“He needed me and I needed him,” says Farooq. “I had a contract with Matchroom and if Lee had beaten me he would have gone to the next stage. Our re-match was going to bring all eyes to Scotland. That was a big rivalry but I would have moved forward anyway even if the second fight hadn’t happened. People were always excited to watch me and I was about to fight in Las Vegas before I had to quit. I don’t know what will happen with Lee now.”

Farooq, though, has moved on. Any disillusionment with boxing has quickly dissipated as he throws himself into fresh challenges, splitting his time delivering sessions at the new Colosseum Boxing gym in Hillington, coaching amateurs at Renfrewshire Boxing, while also working with pros Lekan Obiora and Martin Harkin alongside his former trainer Craig Dickson and Scottish boxing royalty in Gary Jacobs. He is also pursuing his ambition to introduce boxing into schools, a project he is tackling with typical enthusiasm.

“Boxing is my passion and something that I’ve been involved with for such a long time,” he explains. “I’m not done with it yet. I’ve just moved on to the next chapter in my life. It wasn’t really the plan if I’m being honest. I wanted to make myself financially secure through fighting and then do something else. So I’m starting out again at the beginning in a lot of ways.

“I will learn with time if this side of things is what I want to do for the rest of my life. But at the moment I’m enjoying it. I give everything to it, I’m not just there to hold the pads. I don’t punch any more. I’m finished with that now. But I do everything else.

“I’m pretty strict with them, even the amateurs. People have to be on time and take it seriously. You have to be disciplined and do what the trainer says. You also need to have a good relationship with your fighters. You can’t just train anybody. There has to be an understanding there.

“And it’s a commitment on both sides, too. You can’t just disappear for a few months. You have to be there when they need you. You need to show that same dedication. But nothing happens overnight. As a fighter it could mean 10 or 12 years out of your life but you have to do that if you want to succeed. And I tell them that.

“I’m still pretty strict with my own fitness. I get up and run every morning and I still eat healthily. The one luxury now is I sometimes go to the shop to get some chocolate. When I was fighting I would go months without having any. So things like that are nice. I definitely don’t miss cutting weight any more.”

He remains forever indebted to Iain Wilson of the St Andrew’s Sporting Club who signed him as a young professional and then offered him a position as talent scout when he had to hang up the gloves. For as long as Wilson is involved with boxing, Farooq will be too.

“You need to be looked after in this game as there are a lot of crooks who will take away more than they will ever give to you,” he adds. “Iain has always been there for me and I owe him a lot. When he chucks it, I’ll chuck it. If Iain calls it a day tomorrow I would walk away too as he’s the only one in the professional game that I can truly trust. But hopefully we’ll both be around or a while longer yet.”