I’VE KNOWN for over a month that I had to retire. It’s easier now than it was then, when I first found out. That was the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through in my whole life. The most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make, too.

Without my team around me, my manger Iain Wilson and trainer Craig Dickson, I probably would have spent all my money trying to get a boxing licence somewhere. Without them, I would have tried to get a licence abroad. Somewhere, somehow, I wanted to be a fighter. As fighters, we don’t want to believe the things they tell us. But we do need protecting. We look at the long term, thinking about titles and this and that, but not the short term. In the end, this is the best thing for me.

I wanted to fight but my manger said it just wasn’t worth it and, in the end, I realised that was true. You can have all the money in the world but what good is that if you haven’t got your health?

What kills me is how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come. It’s difficult to get this far, especially up here in Scotland where I started out as a small hall fighter. Then I was on the brink of a really big fight, everything was set up, all that was left for me to do was fight. But I have no regrets, I have to be thankful.

All I’ve known is boxing for so many years. But I can’t dwell on this otherwise I’ll end up in a bad place but I have good people around me. My dad told me not to think too much about it because, in life, there are obstacles at every turn. I cannae turn to drink or drugs or get depressed. My brother said that, no matter what, he’ll be by my side. Things like that have made this a lot easier, as has the support I have received from so many people and fans. I am so grateful for that.

I am proud of my career. Fighting in Scotland was always amazing. I loved winning the Scottish title and then winning the British title, too. When I won that I didn’t really think it was that big but my manager said, ‘Now you’re going to win this [Lonsdale Belt] outright.’ Then came the fight with Lee McGregor. I have to thank my manager for all that he’s done for me. He got me in a great position and made me a lot of money. I have looked after my money and I come out of the sport in a good position in that regard. Not all fighters can say that.

Now my fighting days are over I’m going to help Iain build St Andrews Sporting Club and get fighters in. I want to pass on my experience and also help Craig with the training side. There will be other things I do away from the sport but, first and foremost, I want to be involved in boxing because it’s my passion. It always will be.