A former boxing champion who has battled life-threatening conditions and disabilities is stepping in to help school students build confidence and self-confidence.

Rhys McCole uses the sport to share his experiences in and out of the ring and help young people develop life skills.

The first-ever disabled fighter to win a title in the sport’s mainstream, Rhys, now 21, has defied odds all his life.

Born with four holes in his heart, he spent his childhood in and out of the hospital, overcoming asthma, autism, blindness and dyslexia to rise to the top of the sports world.

Now a well-trained gym instructor and personal trainer, Rhys is back at her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, working one-on-one with small groups and young people to boost her self-esteem.

One of the students he works with is 14-year-old Callum Strachan.

Third year: “Before joining the boxing club with Rhys, I didn’t really like being in class, but boxing made me want to go to school.

“Putting on the gloves makes me feel better about everything and now I feel like I’m actually involved in something. I used to hate talking to people.

“There is so much to learn about boxing and so many benefits. I would encourage young people like me to give it a try.”

the squirrel said Remote The discipline and principles of sport can give young people a great many skills to use in their daily lives.

“I have always said that boxing saved me.

Other schools are lining up to invite Rhys to run a boxing class.

Acting Deputy Principal Claire Smith said:

“For a student like Callum who came out of his shell, it was a transformation. He’s much more confident, and there’s a big difference in his self-esteem.

“Rhys works in small groups, but also does one-on-one sessions with some students.

“We are giving opportunities to those who may be struggling in the classroom environment. Everyone learns differently and it’s what works for the individual.

“Our staff has benefited from training with Rhys, and we plan to launch groups with girls as well.

“It was a huge success.”

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