The former serviceman-turned-boxer who fought back from homelessness
Whatever the outcome of former serviceman Perry Howe’s next fight, the popular Sheffield cruiserweight is already a winner.
The 31-year-old from Parson Cross has, by his own admission, been given a second chance at life after becoming homeless following the breakdown of a previous relationship and attempting suicide.
And, after dropping six stone, he is now fulfilling a childhood dream which began on Saturday mornings as a 10-year-old at Brendan Ingle’s St Thomas’s Boxing Club.
"Every life experience I have has led to me making the most of this opportunity,” he says.
“I’m blessed to be doing what I’m doing after going from being homeless and trying to kill myself.”
The 2009 British Army heavyweight champion, who is 3-0-1 with one knockout as a professional, will get another second chance at Ponds Forge on 18 September.
Howe is due to face Derbyshire’s Nathan Junor, who he failed to beat on his pro debut which ended in a draw.
Looking back, he admits the occasion got the better of him.
"The support was a blessing and a curse,” Howe adds.
“It was very humbling because it was such a shock, but in a nice way.
"With the life I have lived, I’ve come full circle. It was quite a poignant moment.”
‘Roy of the Rovers’ is the phrase used by Howe’s friend, mentor and former coach Steve Haywood when discussing his transformational turnaround.
Having turned professional at 29, Howe is pragmatic about what he can achieve in boxing, which has also meant sticking with 5am starts in his day job as a lorry driver.
Still, a Central Area title is the next goal and trainer Robert Riley believes a British title is also possible.
Howe knows his biggest legacy in the sport may be his fundraising work, however.
He wants to raise £10,000 for SSAFA (Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association), the armed forces charity that helped him get back on his feet, before he hangs up his gloves.
His story also continues to give others hope – a word emblazoned on his t-shirt amid a sea of sponsors.
Howe adds: "When I have a bad day and feel like giving up someone will remind me why I do it.
"I’m not just doing it for me, there’s people looking for me for inspiration.”