An account from a writer who would rather stay anonymous but share his story on his upbringing and how boxing in particular helped save his life.
Growing up in the care system from a young age, separated from my younger Sister and brother for a significant period of time, as you can already imagine is the toughest of times, more still knowing that Gang activity was constant ever since I came into this world.
A person walking the same path with a different mindset may have easily been swayed by the spoils that go hand in hand with Gang life but my mindset was different from the start, due in no small part to my passion for the sport of boxing, changing my view on my future aspirations, giving me the heart to reject what was waiting on the other side.
Let me give you a little bit of a background on me, I’m currently fifteen years old, been housed in two residential care homes, six foster homes since the age of three, scattered around the country are my siblings who I sincerely hope to see very soon but cant even think back to the last time i met my other two brothers.
My love for boxing came at the age of three, witnessing the movie classic ‘Rocky’ with my sister, acting to grease the wheels of the thought process of wanting to make something of the sport.
Fast forward to the age of eight, having already been in various foster homes, I returned to live with my Mum. A stable home life allowed me to chance to attend a free boxing club which was nearby. We boxed, trained, made friends and discussed all sorts of things in the cherished moments spent there, it was my sanctuary. The trainers at the gym helped us to remain focused and make the right choices not just in a boxing ring but life in general. What I have always loved about boxing is that sportsmanship, courage, persistence and the difference of effort from other sports.
Boxing was my salvation, without its influence over me I could have easily found my way into the street life which is rife on the streets of London currently with stabbing aplenty.
It all starts with a decision to allow yourself to remain disciplined, without it I could have instead been looking at the four corners of a jail cell, without any future aspirations to look forward to, Lost time which is most valuable.
Some of the fighters I look up today have also found their way in life, the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Deontay Wilder, Joshua Kelly and Andre Ward, i call upon as role models for differing reasons which I will further elaborate on:
Deontay Wilder because of his strength. The way in which he is able to punch holes through the guard of opposition before detonating one of those big swinging right hands on their chin.
Andre Ward because of his troubled childhood, e.g. when he was only nine years old, going to a boxing gym to begin training before unfortunately his Mum and Dad turned to drugs. Luckily for him that his Godfather took him to a different club. The rest is history.
Joshua Kelly because of his incredible skill set and his ability to sway out of range of the punches that come his way.
Vasyl Lomachenko because he is incredibly fast and he has excellent lateral movement which makes him unpredictable for his opponents. He is also an excellent counter-puncher.
Today I currently live in a residential care home In Leicestershire. I refuse to become part of the gang lifestyle where daily struggles include drugs and violent crime.
This is all down to the fact that boxing changed my life. I want to join a gym to start again without any negative influence. I’m lucky in the way my care workers are incredibly supportive and work hard to improve my chances of getting good qualifications in subjects I enjoy, all in the hope of finding a job I love. They strive to give me opportunities that I have never had before, for that I am very thankful.
In the future my aim is to become a professional boxer at middle weight, it won’t be for the fortune; it won’t be for the fame – it will be to fulfill my soul.
Upon leaving I thank you for allowing me to give you my story in the hope it reaches other people on a similar path, with the things I have learnt along the way I would love to one day use that experience to help younger kids in a similar situation. you never know, I could act as their role model the way the aforementioned fighters have had on me.