LEEK pro-fighter Andy Keates' frustrating wait to return the ring is almost over.
The 22-year-old lightweight has been booked for a boxing show at the Birmingham Institute on February 28. His opponent has yet to be named.
Keates said: "This is very important to me, as it's the first time I have stepped back into the ring for nearly 12 months."
It was at the Ponds Arena in Sheffield back in April last year that Keates last pulled on his gloves.
He faced unbeaten Yorkshireman Sam O'Maison for a crack at the vacant Junior British Masters lightweight title.
An unlucky Keates got no further than the first of the scheduled eight-rounds after suffering a cut eye.
It was Keates' first defeat in eight professional fights – but it was no disgrace against a strong opponent tipped to go to the very top.
O'Maison has since gone on to win three more fights to extend his unbeaten run to eight.
Keates said: "I'm stronger and more determined than ever now, but I need as much support as possible in Birmingham on the 28th."
The father-of-one is the first professional boxer to emerge from Leek since the legendary Tiny Bostock hung up his gloves in 1945.
Bostock challenged for the European flyweight championship during his 117-fight career.
Keates, who is based at the Fight Factory in Longton, turned pro three years ago after an outstanding run of success as an amateur, which included winning gold at the Viking Cup in Denmark.