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Monday, July 30, 2007

WHEN I SAW MY DAD JAILED I FOUND BOXING AND JESUS!

I found this article in the Scottish Sunday Mail Newspaper, and foun it very refreshing, in other words, a 'Knock Out"...

SCOTS boxer "Amazing" Alex Arthur has revealed he would never have won his world title without his secret weapons... his loving wife Debbie and his religion. The super featherweight says it was Debbie's inner strength which helped him win the interim WBO belt when he defeated Koba Gogoladze in Cardiff last weekend.

As family man Alex relaxed at his Edinburgh home - with sons Alex Jr, five, Liston, two, and five-month-old Machlan - he dedicated the biggest win of his career to beautiful Debbie. And the devout Christian revealed he found religion aged 10 when his father, Alex Sr, was jailed for attempted murder.

He said: "I could never have won my world title without Debbie's love and strength...I'm absolutely useless without her. "Most boxers like to be cut off from their wife and kids before a big fight but I'm the opposite. If I go to training camp I take them with me. Every boxing trainer would probably tell you that's NOT the way to do it...but it works for me. "Debbie and the boys are part of my strength - they're my rock. When the going gets tough during training I think about them. That's what keeps me going."

Stitched and bruised from his brutal 10-round battle with Gogoladze, the 29-year-old champ spoke with disarming frankness about his tough upbringing. He said: "My dad didn't want me to be a boxer. He barred me from fighting. But he'd wake me up in the middle of the night to watch early Mike Tyson fights live on TV.
"In the late 1980s, he was sentenced to a prison term for attempted murder. "It was heartbreaking to see him being taken away - a very difficult time for me. My dad was a hero. I looked up to him. It was hard to cope with what happened.
"When he went to jail I went to a boxing gym. He couldn't stop me.

"I found boxing and Christianity at exactly the same time. I met a young lad, Thomas McCallum, who came from a similar background to myself. "He took me along to his church to play for their football team. The great thing was that after every game they laid on a huge spread of soft drinks, cakes and biscuits. "With my dad in jail, chocolate biscuits were in short supply in our house so I went along.

"One day a church elder said: 'Do you know anything about Jesus?' "I said, 'No, I just come here for the sweeties'.
"But when I stayed back I really got into the Bible stories and scriptures and became fascinated by Christianity. I decided there and then to dedicate my heart to Jesus."

Alex's faith is not unique in the fight game. Muhammad Ali refused the US draft in the 60s because of his devout Muslim beliefs. His famous heavyweight rival George Foreman became a preacher when he found God in the wake of his now legendary defeat by Ali in Zaire in 1974.
Other British ex-boxers such as Nigel Benn and Prince Naseem Hammed are also deeply religious.

Alex said: "I believe I've been given a gift from God to let people know there's more to life than money, sex, drinking and drugs. "I feel I can encourage people to live a better life. My faith helps me to live the life I need to be a successful boxer. "And it's helped me be morally a much better man. I live by the Ten Commandments. They've made me the man I am.

"Some people think I'm strange. They see me as a Holy Joe but it's more of a problem for them than it is for me." And tongue firmly in his cheek, he added: "I know I'm also extremely handsome and sought after by thousands of women but I'd never mess around with another girl. It's something I'd never dream of doing."

But Alex revealed his romance with Debbie almost never got by Round 1. The couple, who wed on February 5, 2005, had to cancel their wedding four times because he was training. Alex admits Debbie must have been attracted by his rugged good looks and not his social skills.
He said: "At 14, I preferred to stay in my bedroom, where I had punchbags hung up, doing my training. My dad forced me to go to a junior disco in Edinburgh. That's where I met Debbie. "When we started going out I must have bored the living daylights out of her. I never took her for pizza or to a movie and if boxing came on TV I'd sit glued to it and wouldn't speak to her."If I'd have been her dad I'd have said, 'Get rid of him'. I don't know how she stuck by me during those years."

Luckily, she did and the couple fell in love. Alex said: "I did everything I could for a kiss but she was having none of it. We went out for 18 months before she let me kiss her. When we had to cancel our wedding four times Debbie never complained. She's a rare breed."

Debbie was by his side when Alex suffered his only professional defeat in 2003 against Michael Gomez. He said: "She actually became a pain in the butt. She refused to leave my side and slept on a chair at the hospital all night when I was being treated for cuts and concussion."If I sneezed she was there with a hanky. It did become annoying in thedidthatI'ddie end because I just wanted to be left alone. But I realised Debbie was only trying to look after me."

Alex's fighting future is being steered by the UK's top boxing promoter, Frank Warren, who is confident he can get him multi-million dollar fights in Las Vegas. But the Scot's ambitions lie closer to home. He would like to defend his title on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle - a short walk from his childhood home.

He said: "I don't care who I fight next. As long as they've got gloves and shorts on, I'll fight anybody. "Defending my title at the castle would put a stamp on my career. If I did that I'd die happy and go to Heaven. "I live a very Scottish life so I'd love to be regarded as the People's Champion."

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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