Jamie Wood with Carl Froch
By Andrew Wake:
Boxers are well known for their bravery but few epitomise courageousness in the same manner as British amateur Jamie Wood.
18-year-old Jamie was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, last year but has continued to maintain his training regime despite having to undergo 16 bouts of debilitating chemotherapy.
Later this month he is set to go under 18 hours of surgery that will finally rid him of the disease and, as soon as he’s recovered, he’s determined to bounce back by winning an ABA title.
“When they first said to me I had a cancerous tumour my mum and dad were really upset but I decided that this wasn’t going to beat me,” said Jamie, who boxes for Pinewood Starr ABC.
“Ever since I was 10 I’ve had a goal and that is to win the ABA title and then be a success as a professional and I’ve never let this stop me from thinking that will happen.
“When I recover from my operation I want to get back at it. I love boxing. In April or May next year I should be looking to be boxing again.
“This has made me even more hungry. I lay in bed at night and dream about boxing. I just can’t wait for this to be over so I can get back in that ring.”
Often when people are diagnosed with cancer they are told to rest. Jamie, however, has done quite the opposite. In fact, professional trainer Johnny Eames was so impressed with the teenager’s boxing ability that he said he wouldn’t have known about Jamie’s illness if he hadn’t have been told beforehand.
His gym mates have also been impressed with his progress.
“People thought I was going to be sick and weak and out for some time,” he explained. “But I’m still fitter now and than a lot of average people who don’t train are.
“I could have stopped training and sat back but that wouldn’t have helped. Staying active has helped me recover a lot better than a lot of people do.”
Sky Sports commentator Adam Smith often refers to the boxing world as “a family” and the sport’s luminaries have certainly acted like one as they have selflessly supported Jamie’s cause.
“I first I thought I didn’t want to go anywhere because my hair was going to fall out but then I just got on with it. Frank Warren invited me to a show in Liverpool to watch Kevin Mitchell box John Murray.
“Kevin has been brilliant with me and Johnny Eames has helped me a lot and invited me to the Indee Rose charity football tournament recently.
“It sounds weird, but in a way I’m glad it’s happened because I wouldn’t have been able to meet the amazing people I have. The boxing world is such a good community with high spirits. I’ve met so many famous people who have had time for me and cared for what I’ve been going through.”
Jamie’s has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for charities and on October 22 he will take part in an exhibition contest at London’s O2 Arena in aid of Cancer Research UK.
“I knew what type of person Jamie is and him helping people doesn’t surprise me at all,” said proud mum Tracey. “He’s so caring and giving and I knew he would be strong enough to pull through this. He’s got such a big heart.
“There’s a lot of bad people in this world who do horrible things and Jamie is one of the good ones that doesn’t deserve this to happen to him, but if it didn’t happen we wouldn’t have met all these lovely people and he wouldn’t have got to do the things he is.
“Me and my husband have been amazed at how he pulled through it. He’s always been quite focused and strong-minded but for him to get through this has been amazing.”
Details of Jamie’s charity fight night, which also features former world heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon and one time British title contender Georgie Smith can be obtained by calling 07894 835133.
August 31, 2011