Boxer Jeremy Dodd's new lifestyle has a fighting chance

HE WAS a thief and a drunken thug but Caloundra's Jeremy Dodds has found solace in the ring and he's intent on turning his life around.

The 25-year-old has spent five of the past seven years in jail but, after being released three months ago, he's on the straight and narrow.

He now has a job, a home, a support network and a sanctuary at the gym.

Significantly, he's also turned his back on alcohol.

"That was something that had to be done," he said.

"If I didn't, I don't think I would have won a Queensland title (this month) and I don't think I'd be working or doing well for myself.

"I'm a bit of a slow learner. It took me a long time to realise that (I should stay off alcohol)."

"MY father (David) did 20-something years in jail and he's been off it for just over two years and it showed me that if he can do it, I can do it."

Dodds was a promising boxer as a junior but things went awry at 18 when he stopped taking the sport seriously and started drinking more.

During the next seven years, his rap sheet included multiple counts of assaulting police. He also stole from a pharmacy, a liquor store and he even snatched a roast lamb from the RSL.

"I was stressed some times and it ended up getting me locked up," he said. "I made the wrong choices and hung around the wrong people."

But boxing remained a passion and an outlet.

"I've done it my whole life, even when I was inside. I used to train there with the pads," he said.

Now he's out again, Dodds is intent on staying out.

"I have come back into the gym and I'm training harder, I am finding work, keeping active, trying to stay off the grog and trying to stay above water," he said.

"I'm trying to stay motivated and I haven't really been associating with anybody that is going to drag me down.

"I've got a partner (Tina). We've been together for a couple of years now and she's got a kid (Blayd) and I just figured at 25 years of age, it's time to change."

Dodds has been working with a friend, who has just started a framework and formwork stripping company.

He has also been bricklaying with good mate and sparring partner Craig Hill Jnr - an unbeaten professional light middleweight.

But Caloundra City Boxing Club coach Craig Hill is perhaps the biggest driving force behind Dodds' revival.

"Budgie has always stuck by me," Dodds said.

"He's always helped me. He's a good man so I'm just trying to do the right thing by him. I have been trying for a couple of months now and everything is going pretty well."

Hill said Dodds is "like another son".

" He tells me he loves me and he looks up to me like I'm his dad," he said.

"We've had a couple of goes at getting him right and he just ends up back inside.

"But this time I'm just hoping ... he hasn't touched a drop of grog since he's been out, he's got a good girl and he's quite settled."

Dodds has also got some talent in the ring.

"He can do anything. He has power and he likes to move. He can in-fight but he can also mix it up," Hill said.

Dodds will likely turn professional next March.

Topics:  alcohol alcoholism boxing crime editors picks

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