COACH Tony Borg says it was a case of short-term pain for long-term gain after revealing he opted to pull Jamie Cox out of his last fight before stepping into the ring.

The 32-year-old southpaw is set to return to action on Saturday, May 9 at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on the undercard of Lee Selby’s lightweight showdown with George Kambosos.

Cox’s last outing was a knockout defeat to London’s John Ryder at the O2 in 2018.

However, the super-middleweight was due to box on a Matchroom Italy show in March of last year, before pulling out late on, meaning Cox has been away from the sport for over a year after suffering with personal problems outside the ring.

Borg, tasked with plotting Cox’s return to title contention, says he advised the 32-year-old not to fight in Milan and believes his man is better for it.

“He was due to fight in March and I had to pull him out, I just said to him that he wasn’t on it,” he said.

“I told him I didn’t think he was ready and that I didn’t think that he should fight because he had so much going on outside of boxing and his head just wasn’t in it.

“When I told him I think he was a bit bitter, but then he phoned me and said I was right to pull him out of the fight.

“Going into a fight, when you aren’t ready mentally it will be a disaster. Boxers are so brave, the last thing they want to do is pull out of a fight.

“If he’d have taken that fight in Italy and lost against a relative nobody, where would he have gone from there?

“So that’s why I advised him to pull out.

“I think Jamie just went through a phase in his life, we all go through them. Now he’s settled down with his partner.”

Cox has been back training with Borg in Newport for several months and the Welsh coach says the southpaw, who has a record of 25-2 as a professional, has been working hard to get back fit.

While the Swindon star does intend to fight at middleweight, his comeback bout will be an eight-round super-middleweight contest.

“Jamie has been back in the gym for a couple of months now and when he came back he was really big, he weighed over 90kg,” he added.

“He’s been working hard and he dropped six KG straight away but he’s getting there and he’s working really well.

“This year I’d like to get him out three times, that would be good but I think four times would be great and if we can do that, then that would get him back on song.”