Boxing’s ‘Miracle’ man Jamie beats all the odds to return to ring

12:00 18 October 2012

West Hams Jamie Wood has beaten all the odds to make his return to the ring

West Hams Jamie Wood has beaten all the odds to make his return to the ring

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West Ham Boxing Club’s 19-year-old Jamie Wood has been labelled ‘miracle boy’ after fighting back from cancer last year to return to the ring.

He insists: “Boxing has saved my life,” adding “it was only my determination to box again that kept me going through two serious operations and months of treatment.”

On Friday night, the teenager was a special guest at the Night of Champions boxing event at London’s Wellington Barracks, donating proceeds to the famous Royal Marsden Hospital, where he underwent treatment for cancer.

The previous weekend he proved his fitness by boxing for the Hammers in an ABA novices championship bout, then just a day later he successfully completed a half-marathon for charity.

That treatment to remove a cancerous Ewing’s tumour, which had wrapped itself around the bones in his face, involved two major operations and long courses of chemotherapy during 2011.

He never lost his determination to resume his eight-bout boxing career and this summer the youngster from Cranleigh, Surrey, who had boxed for the Pinewood Star BC, switched to West Ham –“because it is a top boxing club.”

At the Black Lion Gym in Plaistow, secretary Lianne Jameson said: “You have to admire Jamie’s determination to get back in the ring. After all he has gone through, boxing must seem the easy part.”

His Hammers debut came at the NE London Novices Championships on October 7 at Harold Hill but, after a battling display, he dropped a narrow points verdict to Repton’s Tim Agbetile, who went on to win the title.

The following day he joined his mother, Tracey, running in the Royal Parks Foundation half-marathon – taking the money he has raised for the Royal Marsden to over £50,000.

Such a hectic two-day timetable did not seem remotely possible last November, when he underwent the 13-hour operation involving 10 doctors and included a period on a life-support machine.

After the earlier removal of the large tumour along with facial bone and eight teeth, the second operation involved grafting bone and tissue from his shoulder into his mouth for the complicated reconstruction of his face.

“I knew a lot of people were saying I would never box again – but I was always determined to get back in the ring,” said Wood, who received support from world champions including Tim Witherspoon, Joe Calzaghe David Haye and Colin McMillan during his time on the sidelines.

He also praised the help of West Ham’s Kevin Mitchell and his trainer Mark Tibbs during training sessions at Canning Town’s Trad TKO gym.

He responded to their backing with his own dedication to get back to full fitness and passed the official medical tests to resume his career earlier this year, getting back with a good win before his championship contest.

Tracey reflects a mother’s concern, admitting: “No mum really wants their son to box, but I agree with Jamie and honestly believe that the sport has saved his life.”

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