NEARLY 12 months after calling time on his professional boxing career, Just Whitehead will climb back into the ring one last time for an exhibition bout.
The one-time Australian heavyweight champion will be one of a host of current and past fighters from the Vinton Street Gym in California Gully to lend their expertise to a combined boxing and music showcase at the Bendigo racecourse next month.
Whitehead, 47, officially retired from boxing last April following an eight-fight career, highlighted by his Australian heavyweight title win over Colin Wilson in 2010.
He also held WBF international and WBF Asia-Pacific heavyweight titles.
His entrance into the professional ranks in 2008 was preceded by a stellar amateur career, which included a bronze medal win at the 1988 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
Whitehead stressed his return to the ring was strictly an exhibition and a favour to his former trainers Pat and Garry Connolly.
“I’m glad it’s for the right cause … but I’m certainly retired,” he said.
“Pat and Garry have been there for me the whole the way through my career, I certainly feel an obligation to help them out when I can.
“I guess in another sense it’s a bit of farewell for me, said Whitehead, who went 6-2 in his pro-career with his two losses coming to American Julius Long and Herman Ene Purcell in his last two fights.
Whitehead said post-boxing life had been busy, with much focus on his security officer role at Bendigo Health.
The popular sportsman said he still kept in shape in the gym and would continue to mentor some of the Connolly’s large stable of boxers when asked.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.