Fight star Lisa Whiteside believes she will be back better than ever after undergoing shoulder surgery.
The 30-year-old Preston ace went under the knife this month to repair a ruptured tendon.
She has been nursing the injury for more than a year after sustaining it during the 2015 European Championships.
Although she has been able to compete with the help of injections, the problem has particularly hampered her in training.
And although she refused to use it as an excuse, it may have had a slight bearing on her performance at this year’s World Championships in Kazakhstan, when she was beaten by reigning European champion Stoyka Petrova at the second-round stage.
“I have been having injections in my shoulder for fights,” said Whiteside, who won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2014.
“I would say it’s affected me more in training. I have been in a lot of pain a lot of the time and it’s been waking me up in the middle of the night.
“At the Worlds, I got given the hardest of draws.
“In the first round I beat a girl from Ukraine but Petrova – the European champion – beat me fair and square.
“I am not making any excuses, she was by far the better fighter on the day and deserved to win.
“But we just decided after I got back from the Worlds to have the operation so I will be fresh and fit for what’s to come over the next few years.”
It has certainly been a challenging period of time for the JR Gym boxer, who is a multiple national champion.
Last year her career looked under threat after she suffered an horrific fractured skull in a freak accident outside of the ring.
After battling back to health, Whiteside saw her hopes of winning selection for this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, dashed.
Competing with London 2012 golden girl Nicola Adams for Team GB’s single spot in the flyweight competition for Rio, Whiteside was always likely to be overlooked in favour of the reigning Olympic champion.
However, this summer’s Games are expected to be Adams’ swansong and should finally see Whiteside step out of her rival’s shadow.
She has the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, on the horizon with the 2020 Olympics, in Tokyo, the long-term target.
“I am not gutted about missing the Olympics,” Whiteside said. “Especially after I fractured my skull last year – I am lucky to be back boxing.
“Don’t get me wrong, seeing everybody out there in Rio, it would have been ace to be out there on the team.
“But there is a lot for me to look forward to. Nicola will be retiring after Rio, so hopefully the next four years will be my time.”