Former soldier who attempted suicide turns his life around by taking part in Ultra White Collar Boxing
A former soldier who suffered mental health problems and attempted suicide, has used boxing to turn his life around.
Kyle Devlin, 23, attempted to take his own life at the beginning of 2019, but the warehouse worker says boxing has helped put his life back on track.
The father-of-one from Penshaw took part in Ultra White Collar Boxing to give himself something to focus on and regain his fitness, making “really good friends” in the process.
Participants are given the opportunity to take part in eight weeks of free professional boxing training before a showcase event in front of hundreds of spectators. Those taking part are asked to sell tickets for the show and raise at least £50 for Cancer Research UK.
So far Ultra Events, the company behind the event, has raised £19 million for the charity.
Kyle, originally from Langholm in Scotland, served in the Scots Guards for three years until he was medically discharged in 2016 after suffering a severe foot injury.
His mental health deteriorated. But he “wasn't sure why” and early this year he attempted suicide. After the attempt failed, he signed up for the charity boxing event to get fit.
He said: "I tried to take my own life, I was at the lowest point.
"I had seen Ultra White Collar Boxing advertised online and I knew it would give me something to focus on and get my life back on track.
"I wanted to get in shape, but the mental health benefits made a massive difference for me."
Kyle trained at Armageddon Fit S&C Academy in Southwick for eight weeks.
He added: "The training was really good. It was exactly what I was expecting. I used to do a bit of mixed martial arts, so I knew the training would be very intense and hard work.
"Everyone I trained with got on really well. I made some really good friends. We talk regularly and see how each other are doing. They helped me through.
"The toughest test was the conditioning training, but I really liked the challenge."
After eight weeks of intensive training, he fought in front of hundreds at The Point in Holmeside on June 17.
With fiancee Kenya Watson, 23, watching on, as well as his two-year-old daughter, Tori, Kyle entered the arena to Tupac's Ride Or Die carrying a Scottish flag.
He lost his bout in the second round, but he said the experience has inspired him to become an amateur boxer.
He added: "I ended up raising £360, it was an amazing experience. My opponent walked out with an English flag and was in the red corner, and I walked out with a Scottish flag and I was in the blue corner. It was meant to be.
“I was flattered that they matched me with one of the stronger competitors in the group, it shows I was one of the better fighters.
“Unfortunately I lost the fight, but I have already signed up for the next one to get a win under my belt.
"After my next Ultra fight I am going to take up amateur boxing. I have enjoyed the experience and have been inspired. I really want to keep fighting."
The next Ultra White Collar Boxing event takes place at The Point on November 23. Training starts in the week commencing September 30.
For more information, visit www.ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk/locations/sunderland