“Like I’d never been away” was how Stretford boxer Bradley Rea described last week’s comeback fight win at Liverpool’s Grand Central Hall.

‘Sting’ Rea celebrated a victory on points against Serhii Ksendzov, a 30-year-old German-based Ukrainian.

It was 25-year-old Rea’s 16th bout and his first for 10 months - and the win puts him in 17th place among British middleweight division boxers following referee Jamie Kirkpatrick’s 60-52 decision in his favour.

“I was delighted with my performance,” said Rea. “I felt calm and composed and managed to get my opponent under control quickly so that all he could do was defend.

“He didn’t land any meaningful shots. It’s a relief to have got back on the canvas and I’m looking forward to boxing again before the end of the year and certainly being a contender for title fights in 2024.

“I want to thank my new training team at Sharpstyle Gym, in Blackpool, where I’ve completely settled in and also all my sponsors for making this possible.”

Rea knocked his opponent down twice in the bout but admitted: “I was not too bothered about a stoppage because I wanted to know I could use everything I’d been working on in training.”

Rea also commended Ksendov for “being determined to go the distance”.

Title fights will mean a return to eight and then 10-round bouts with eventually a “gruelling and brutal twelve round battle for a major championship,” said Rea.

“It can’t come soon enough,” added the Stretford fighter.