A bare-knuckle boxer knocked out at the Fenton Manor Sports Complex last week is using the sport to fight despression.
Michael Ode, who moved from Mansfield to Newcastle Under-Lyme, believes he never loses inside the ring as he continues his 20-year long fight against his condition.
The controversial sport – where two athletes put their sweat, blood and heart on the line – in bid to get their bare hands raised by the end has sparked protest from some quarters. But Ode is convinced the sport has its benefits.
He said: “I learn a lot from my losses.
“At the end of the day you never lose, you learn. In my eyes I always win inside the ring, I am winning every time I enter.
“I am doing what I love to do, I go in there, have a good scrap, and enjoy what I love to do.
“Nobody can pull me down afterwards and say I haven’t done well.
“I was in a bad place previously, I suffered from depression for a lot of years, probably about 20 years altogether.
“I have tried a lot of ways to overcome it but I am going to beat it my way, I am determined.
“I am in a good place right now and I am better. I made my comeback two weeks ago, I got a first-round stoppage.
“Happy days, onwards and upwards.
“Fighting helps me. Training and going to the gym makes me feel so much better about myself, but fighting is my life.
“Fighting is my anti-depression, I am concentrated on one thing and that one thing is killing my demons.
“I am actually doing a sky dive to raise awareness for my mental health. I will be walking out there with a t-shirt on with ‘mental awareness’ on the front.
“I want to help others, if I can prevent someone from cutting themselves or overdosing, then happy days.”
It was a jam-packed crowd of 1200 for the bare-knuckle boxing event in Fenton and Ode, who is also known as ‘Mad Dog’ thinks there should be more events like this held in Stoke.
“The event was massive,” he added.
“I met my auntie and uncle who lives in Hanley before the fight, and they were saying it is an amazing event.
“They think it’s great and they came to support me which is even better.
“They want it to happen more frequently, if it happens more regularly then they will support me more often and would come to events like this all the time.
“Growing up, all I remember of Stoke-On-Trent is a little small town, with canal boats, I used to look for Rosie and Jim when walking along.
“It is a great City and one that is close to my heart.”