A NATIONAL hero has returned to Marlow determined to develop the next generation of boxing greats.

Bertie James became the first member of the Marlow Police Community Amateur Boxing Club to win a national title in the 1980s.

He went on to have a successful professional career but, after more than a quarter of a century, he has now come home.

He said: “My last fight ever was against Gary King at Wycombe Town Hall in 1998.

“I’ve been away for 26 years but I was homesick. I wanted to come home. I missed the club.

“I’ve actually been back since September but I wanted to keep it quiet to get my feet under the table first and get to know the boys and let them get to know me. A lot of the boys here are very talented and I just can’t wait for the next season to start now.”

James is joining up again with head coach Jack Wilson.

He said: “I’ve always been in contact with Jack, he’s a father figure to me.”

Wilson had to take a step back after illness over Christmas but he’s back now and with James on board, he is predicting great things for the club.

He said: “I’ve been at the club for 35 years and had 11 national finalists and three national champions. That’s the dream, to get a boy to the nationals, but there are some really good boys here now so we will definitely have a fourth.”

The clubs trains Tuesdays and Thursdays at Pound Lane Leisure Centre.