Today’s columnist, Brendan Ingle: I want to be world champ

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My name is Ali Iqbal. I’m 18 years old and I live in Tinsley with my parents and three brothers.

I went to Brinsworth Comprehensive School. I was unteachable and I spent more of my time out of the classroom than I did in it.

My attitude was shocking, I was disruptive, rude and unmanageable. I made my teachers’ lives hell on a daily basis.

They couldn’t do anything with me. I can’t tell you why I was like that. I come from a loving, stable family. I was deeply unhappy about being overweight, but that was no excuse for my appalling behaviour.

I started at Brendan’s boxing gym two and a half years ago and it has transformed my life.

Going there was the best decision that I ever made.

I’ve always been into boxing and I’ve trained at other boxing gyms, but I was always too overweight to compete.

At the age of 16, I weighed 16 stone. The first day I met Brendan he spent half an hour talking to me.

That’s all it took. From that moment I knew I had to concentrate on losing weight.

It was a long, hard road but Brendan was always there for me.

Apart from the training, he checked up on how much I’d lost and what I was eating.

Sometimes I trained twice a day.

I’ve lost five stone and now I’m down to 11 stone. I’ve never felt so good in my life.

I love the way I look and my boxing has improved tremendously.

I’m aiming to be another one of Brendan’s world champions.

Brendan has changed my whole perspective on life and taught me to be patient and not to lose my temper.

He’s made me a well-mannered member of society.

I am combining my boxing training with working as a waiter at Aagrah in Leopold Square.

No-one (including myself) would have been surprised if I’d ended up in prison.

It’s a couple of years since I left school, but I want to take this opportunity to apologise to all my teachers at Brinsworth Comprehensive for making their lives so difficult when all they were trying to do was help me.

In particular, I’d like to apologise to my support teacher, Mr Rinkawige.

I want them to know that I’m ashamed of how I behaved towards them and hope that my apology will be accepted.

* Brendan Ingle, Boxing trainer and success story of Ali Iqbal