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Dartford light-heavyweight Ernie Rutherford keen to make up for lost time after broken back proved the catalyst for his return to the ring

Ernie Rutherford says a near-death experience has helped him turn his life around after breaking his back in a car accident.

Dartford boxer Rutherford, who will fight at London’s York Hall on July 1, was involved in a car accident on a motorway in 2020, leaving him with multiple fractures in his back.

Dartford's Ernie Rutherford has got his life back on track since turning pro. Picture: S. ALIU
Dartford's Ernie Rutherford has got his life back on track since turning pro. Picture: S. ALIU

While his health lay in the balance, the 25-year-old was left with a lot of time to think as he remained in the Princess Royal Hospital after the incident.

It was there, in his hospital bed, he decided to lace up his boxing gloves again after enjoying an extensive amateur career as a youngster.

Weighing over 18 stone at the time, he embarked on a journey that saw him lose more than five stone before making his professional debut in February, where he secured a knockout maiden win over Csaba Bolcskei.

Now, Rutherford is hoping to fulfil his potential as he prepares to face Harry Matthews in the capital on Neilson Boxing’s latest Fight Town show.

“After the crash, my life spiralled a little bit,” he said.

“I struggled with my mental health and it was a turning point for me to do what made me happy.

“I was out of shape, I was down and I wasn’t happy because I wasn’t doing what I was meant to be doing.

“I never want to grow old and wonder ‘what if’... I just thought I’m going to put all my eggs into one basket, give it my best go and see how far I can go.

“I’m just chasing my dreams and that was a turning point - where I decided I was going to get fit and fight again.”

With his professional career taking off later than most, the light-heavyweight is keen to make up for lost time and believes Matthews is the perfect man to face.

His opponent has recorded 16 wins as a professional but has also shared the ring with former world title challenger Jamie Cox, Chris Eubank Jr and former British title holder Nick Blackwell.

“Harry has boxed a few people who have boxed for a world title, so to be jumping in with someone of that calibre, I think it shows a lot of character,” he added.

“I’m confident in my ability and know I can beat him, too. He fights at a high level and he’s in there with top prospects.”

For more information or tickets, visit www.neilsonboxing.co.uk

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