Veteran boxing trainer Glyn Rhodes has paid tribute to the one-time riotous jailbird who has helped raise around £300,000 for charity.
Mat Mowat, his right hand man at Sheffield Boxing Centre, has recently received the British Empire Medal for service to boxing in the community.
It is the latest chapter in an astonishing change in the life of a man involved in the Strangeways Prison riots in Manchester in 1990.
Mowat, who will turn 50 next year, is helping today’s generation of youngsters to avoid crime and embrace the challenges of boxing .
“Any time we have done any charity event Mat has always been there” said Rhodes.
“We’ve raised over £300,000 for charity. He won’t mind me saying this - Mat has spent some time in prison when his life went down the wrong path, but he managed to turn it around through boxing.
“From being prison to getting himself a BEM medal, you cannot ask for anything better.
“Because of his background as a kid himself, he didn’t have the greatest upbringing, so now he sees himself as a kid in some of the kids we are looking after in the gym.
“Because he has turned his own life around, he feels he owes it to kids in the gym to try and steer them on the right track.
“Hopefully they won’t go down the road he went and end up in prison. Look where he is now!
“A guy who has been in prison on more than one occasion, now got himself a BEM medal, it’s a fabulous story.”
Gleadless-based Mowat, a former professional super middleweight (1990-2001) has taken his BEM medal into the Hillsborough unit to show gym-mates.
“He is part of the backbone of the gym and I am proud of the fact he has been rewarded” said Rhodes.