TJ King Battles Back From Depression and Weight Gain to be Crowned Irish Champ

There are comeback stories and then there is the tale of TJ King.

The Phoenix Ballyboughal fighter battled back from lockdown-induced depression and serious weight gain to earn major national success again.

King dethroned reigning champion to be crowned 75kg National Youth king of Ireland at the home of Irish boxing recently and couldn’t hide his delight after.

The fighter, who has ambitions to become Ballymun’s first Olympian, revealed it was a success he thought was beyond him after he found himself in a bad place during Covid.

“It’s a great feeling winning this title because I honestly didn’t think I’d get back to this level,” he said. “In the Covid lockdown I gained 30kgs. I was 63kgs and I went up as far as 95kgs, just eating all the time, I got depressed, and I quit boxing.

“I only started back to loose weight and I go the love for it again. I didn’t think I’d win one of these but I’m gald I kept going. I’d like to thank all my friends, my coaches, Tony Davitt, Gary Fay, Glena and everyone in the club. I’m very proud of myself.”

The 17-year-old, who lost to friend Bobbi Flood in the 71kg final earlier this year, defeated Jobstown’s Josh Olaniyan to claim this title.

It was the third time the pair fought and he believes they may remain rivals as they progress through the ranks.

“That was the trilogy fight between me and Josh, we were 1-1 before this and now I got the second one. I’d say we’ll fight again in the future.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com