A BRAVE 11-year-old cancer survivor has battled back from childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma to realise his dream of getting in the boxing ring.
And when Owen Allen won his first bout at Birmingham’s Gatecrasher nightclub last Saturday (October 3), the packed crowd went wild.
Owen’s dad, Peter said: “He had two lumps in his neck when he was seven years old and for ages, doctors thought they were just swollen glands.
“We eventually found the cause and the cancer spread from his neck down to his back and stomach.”
One of the side effects of the chemotherapy was the impact on his Achilles tendon.
He added: “The doctor suggested skipping would help rebuild his tendon so I took him to the local boxing club to practise but he completely fell in love with the sport of boxing instead.”
With several older kids around him, at the age of seven, Owen was one of the youngest in the club.
Despite undergoing chemo, the little champ continued to train. Two years later, he met trainer, Mick Maguire at the The Jewellery Quarter Boxing Club.
Mick said: “Following an interesting conversation with his father, it was plain to see he has a fighter’s heart, which lies at the core of every boxer.”
On scoring his first victory last Saturday, Owen said: “One day I want to be champion.”
Mick said: “After he won, I told him he’s already our greatest champion for overcoming illness and finding a way to realise his dream of being a boxer.”
Peter had been dubious about his son’s wish to explore the boxing world but was soon to realise the sport itself had become a metaphor for Owen to fight his way through the illness.
He said: “His attitude is if I can beat cancer, I can beat anything.
“It’s because he’s been through the hardest thing you can go through as a kid, so he’s got nothing to worry about when he’s in the ring.”
Owen has spent 18 months training hard in skills contests, designed to acclimatise young boxers to the competitive aspects of the sport without the pressure of winning or losing being placed upon them.
“This is only the beginning of Owen’s boxing journey and it will take lots of hard work and learning before Owen can realise the next part of his quest to become a champion.”
Apart from annual check-ups at the hospital, Owen has now completely recovered from the cancer.
His father added: “Owen has just taken everything in his stride.
“Nothing bothered him even though he knew he was ill.
“Me and his mum are very proud of him and would like to give a big thank you to Mick Maguire for all the time and effort he’s put into encouraging and supporting our son.”