Without anything ‘real’ to focus on, the pressure just kind of built up in my mind and I snapped. I had a complete meltdown, I smashed up my house and then I tried to take on the coppers who came to intervene. I ended up on remand in Winchester Prison, asking myself: “How did I get here?”
When I got out I needed something to get my head straight. And that was boxing. I did a fair bit of judo as a kid, and obviously we did loads of various kinds of combat training in the military. But as a boxer I was a 46-year-old novice, so it was tough. It was also exactly what I needed. A room full of positive people, treating each other with respect and all focused on the same goal.
I’m now 52 and boxing has been a life saver for me. I’ve had to take a bit of time out with injuries, which are a fact of life that you just have to work around. Everyone has things that can get in the way of training, but knowing where I want to focus my energy is very important.
When I met Sam at the Gone Wild Festival he gave me a taster of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which was great. The way these guys train is similar to what you see in the best boxing gyms, like London’s Peacock Gym, where I have done a lot of my training. The good guys help the newer guys – you improve just as much by teaching someone else, so everyone learns together.
Everyone needs a healthy way of blowing away the cobwebs, resetting the mind so you can get back to normal life. Boxing clears my head, and at the same time makes me stronger and happier. After that, life on civvy street doesn’t seem bad at all.
Phil Campion is the author of Who Dares Wins, sequel to the Sunday Times bestseller Born Fearless. Phil is also Official Champion of the Army Cadet Force. Phil was talking to Richard Holt.