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3 Compelling Stories of How Boxing Has Transformed Lives

To some people, boxing is just a sport—something they may watch on a Friday night with their buddies. To others, boxing takes on so much more. It becomes the spark that ignites a flame, a passion, even a way of life for some people. These are the stories of people who transformed their life through boxing. They come from different countries and different backgrounds, but they all share one thing in common. Their passion for boxing helped them radically change their lives for the better.

From Chubby to Champion

Michael Jephcott of the United Kingdom spent the majority of his teenage years as a sedentary individual. The only walks he would take were to the pantry for his potato chips, then on to the refrigerator for sodas. His “less-than-active” lifestyle, combined with his poor eating habits, resulted in him reaching his peak weight of 252 pounds in his early 20s. At just 25 years old, Mike suffered from depression, asthma, and panic attacks due to his extra weight. He admits that he lacked any confidence in himself at that weight, and he would stay home while his friends went out, due to embarrassment.


One day, he decided to take some responsibility for his life—and he turned things around. He ditched his poor eating habits, replacing chips for vegetables and his soda habit with water instead. At that same time, he joined a boxing gym and the rest is history. Within a few months of boxing training, combined with healthy eating habits, Mike managed to lose over 50 pounds while packing on muscle. He developed a passion for the sport and spent hours training at the gym.


Over the course of a year and a half, he literally lost half of his body weight and slimmed down to his fighting weight of 126 pounds. He made a successful boxing debut and, after remaining undefeated in several bouts, Jephcott earned the title of Amateur Boxing Association Novice champion. Mike spent three years successfully competing in the ABA’s light middleweight division. He now trains people in his very own boxing fitness class during his spare time. Mike’s story is a testament to the power of a dedicated person and the positive impact they can have on their own circumstances.

mike tyson

“Iron” Mike Tyson’s Turnaround

You know him as one of the most dominant boxing champions in the world, but do you know Mike Tyson before he stepped in the ring? Mike has been a fighter his entire life. His father abandoned his family when Mike was just two years old, leaving his mother to care for three children on her own. As if his situation wasn’t harsh enough, Mike lost his mother at 16 years old. In just a couple of years after that, Mike lost his sister in 1990.


“I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something. She only knew me as being a wild kid running the streets, coming home with new clothes that she knew I didn’t pay for. Professionally, it has no effect, but it’s crushing emotionally and personally,” Mike recounts about his past. The Brooklyn native spent the majority of his childhood and teenage years in high-crime neighborhoods. Growing up in the belly of the beast, Mike learned early-on how to fight for survival. Mike led a chaotic life very early-on—he was arrested 38 times by the time he was just 13 years old.


To contain the madness, Mike was enrolled in the Tyron School for Boys in Johnstown, New York. He found his lucky break at the school when his boxing coach Bobby Stewart discovered his potential. They trained together for a few months before he met Cus D’Amato, and it was all uphill from there. Iron Mike went on to amass 58 professional fights with an extraordinary 50 wins and several titles. He has published books and even ventured into acting. You could say that boxing saved his life.

Anthony Joshua

A Rough Journey to Superstardom – Anthony Joshua

You may know him as one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in boxing today. He currently holds three of the four world heavyweight championship titles. Anthony boasts an impressive number of wins with no losses on his record—and an earth-shattering 21 wins via knockout. It’s safe to say that he’s sent his fair share of mouthguards flying to the canvas. Anthony wasn’t always on top, though. He had a way of finding trouble as he was growing up. In 2010, he was charged with possession of cannabis with intent to distribute.


As a result of the charges, he was banned from all boxing events (he had dabbled in amateur events before then). At that point, he abandoned boxing and returned to his “less than legal” activities. Interestingly enough, it was an initial court case that landed Joshua in jail for some time, where he picked up boxing. After he was let off with a sentence of community service, GB Boxing, a British amateur boxing team, called him with an offer to join. Joshua took the offer and went on to amass an impressive 40 wins with just 3 losses as an amateur before he took on the professionals.


Boxing serves as a guardian angel to those in need. The sport requires and provides a focus to those who can use blinders in the face of temptation. Just like these amazing athletes have turned around hard-fought battles in the ring, they overcame adversity in their personal lives with the help of boxing. When we hear stories like theirs, we remind ourselves that anything in life is possible—we just have to keep fighting.


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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years