Once a tear-away teenager, 20-year-old Akash Hussein from Newcastle has credited boxing with turning his life around.
When Akash was at school he was constantly getting into fights and was suspended several times.
His sister Sonia said: “I used to always hear ‘your brother had a fight with this person’ and ‘your brother had a fight with that person.’
“I used to always think, is [Akash] okay or not?”
Akash knew something had to change, and had heard about former world cruiserweight champion, Glenn McCrory’s gym.
Glenn saw potential in Akash who took up the sport, and went on to represent his country and win an Amateur Boxing Association title.
Akash said the sport transformed him: “It showed me a vision of what I could become.”
Akash now trains three times a day, seven days a week.
He won his first professional bout against the experienced Michael Tomko in September 2012.
He added: “To be a professional, you have to behave that way in and out of the ring.
“I don’t even have to try to be good now, it just comes naturally.”
Along with Teesside’s Shafiq Asif and Mohammad Waqas, Akash is one of three young Asian boxers making an impression on the North East boxing scene.
Some believe that having a well known Asian role model in Amir Khan is one of the reasons why young Asians are taking up boxing rather than more popular sports like football.
Newcastle-based boxing conditioning coach Saj Iqbal said: “Basically there aren’t a lot of Asians out there to show the football world that we can play football.”
Akash added that racial discrimination is not an issue in boxing: “I don’t get racist comments.
“If you have the talent you will get picked, and you are going to get forward.”
Akash believes that he is now a role model himself: “I’m on a path which is good, which will benefit [others] if they want to follow my routine.
“I would like to help them in any way so that they achieve something in life.”
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