FORMER Hereford captain Joel Edwards is set to compete in a boxing match on Friday at Edgar Street.

The now Westfields player boxed in a charity event previously and takes part in the City of Hereford Boxing match against a Midlands Select Team.

Speaking to the Hereford Times, Edwards explained why he took the step into combat sport after so long on the field.

“Obviously I’ve been playing football most of my life, but I picked up a really bad ankle injury last year. I had to have surgery on it, so I haven’t really been able to kick a ball since then.

“I couldn’t even play before it as I didn’t want to damage my ankle, so I turned to a less strenuous form of exercise for that part of the body (boxing) to keep myself fit.

“I am really grateful to the City of Hereford Boxing Club for taking me in since the injury and helping me get my fitness back. Tony, Kelly, Ray and all the other coaches have been great.

“I went to join the club for that pure reason. I was fairly successful with little pressure. I was really enjoying the technicality of it and had my first charity event last September.

“I was fairly confident for the fight but in the last few weeks my partner gave birth to our baby, so I’ve had a few sleepless nights. But it’s definitely given me a big mental boost to counteract it.”

Edwards played for both iterations of Hereford after coming through the youth ranks at the club, making his debut in 2013 when the club was called United.

He would make a return as the club rose from the ashes, going on to feature for Cardiff Met University after his release in 2017.

He played in the Europa League qualifiers with the side before returning to Westfields in 2020.

Joel is especially looking forward to returning to Edgar Street, a place which he still holds close to his heart.

“I keep mentioning the amount of people going to my coach, and yeah it’s a bit nervy.

“I haven’t participated in anything with the club for a while but hopefully the fans have fond memories of me, and they can cheer me on.”

As a boxer, the type of performance and mentality needed is different to that as a footballer. Comparatively, Joel seems to find the individual side of things easier than the team side.

“It is a completely different pressure than the one I was under as a footballer. If I have a bad day, it is my responsibility not anyone else’s.

“I always took the blame on the field if we have a bad day but now it is all on me.”

Despite the boxing activities, Edwards is still keen to feature on the football field sooner rather than later.

“I have a few casual chats with various clubs regarding next season but at the moment my loyalty definitely lies with Westfields.”

Tickets for Edwards event are on sale via the Hereford FC website.