A WORLD record-breaking boxer who led police on a car chase through the streets of Sunderland today vowed to turn his life around after narrowly avoiding jail.
Disgraced former paratrooper Andrew Ross also pledged to reclaim his world record title despite admitting 13 offences including a petrol-stealing scam.
Ross got his name into the Guinness World Record book for the number of times he could pound a punchbag over a period of days. But the record was recently broken by a Russian.
At Newcastle Crown Court Ross pleaded guilty to a string of offences including theft, driving while disqualified and dangerous driving.
Ross, 30, today told the Echo he wanted to turn his back on crime and regain his record.
He said: “I’ve been in a lot of trouble but getting back into boxing has really helped me. I’m back to training every day for six days a week and I’m currently the North of England Light Heavyweight Champion.”
In January, Ross had been given a chance to prove himself by a judge, who said he had to turn his life around over the past six months or face going straight to jail.
When Ross appeared back in the dock his barrister Jamie Adams said sport was helping him to change his ways and that he now had a job at a gym.
As a result, Mr Recorder Andrew Haslam allowed him to keep his freedom and sentenced Ross to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with supervision, 130 hours of unpaid work and a 12-month driving ban.
His freedom means Ross can now try to regain his world record, which he was not allowed to defend while the court case was pending.
World Record bosses have now accepted his application to pound the punchbag for more than 46 hours.
Ross, who trains at Marine House in Fulwell, said: “I’m hoping to do it around October, November time. I’m really focused, I’m in the best shape of my life.” The fitness fanatic already held world records for doing 10,000 press-ups in nine-and-a-half hours in 2008 and doing 3,064 press-ups in an hour in 2007.
Despite his promising prospects, and 18 months Army service which included a rescue mission to Sierra Leone, Ross has repeatedly been in trouble with the police and admitted his part in the petrol stealing scam when he was in court in January. In just over a fortnight between September and October last year he helped himself to over £220 of petrol from garage forecourts in Sunderland and Durham and drove off with no intention of paying.
He confessed to the thefts when he was caught after a police chase on November 4, which saw him driving through red lights and on the wrong side of the road for 200m.