When Sam Best, previously undefeated light heavyweight boxer, lost his seventh professional fight at the end of 2017, he spiralled into a depression which saw him withdraw from the professional boxing circuit. Now, following months of soul-searching, mentoring and a fight to rediscover his love of the sport, Sam hopes to set his native Newcastle alight with pride when he returns to the ring in the new year.
Sam readily attributes his return to full health to the fact that he wasn’t afraid to ask for help. With the support of his partner, Emily, and the rest of his family, Sam reached out for help to beat his depression.
A glimpse into Sam’s recent life reveals the reasons behind his illness, having taken on a great deal of responsibility, both personally and professionally, in a short space of time. He established his own roofing business, SB Roofing, in 2016, and his partner Emily gave birth to their baby son later that same year.
Sam’s business took off, gaining a glowing reputation, business and a great deal of responsibility.
Sam said: “When I fell in love with Emily, I fell out of love with boxing. Being beaten at the end of last year haunted me. I realised I wasn’t concentrating on boxing as I’d become too business-oriented. I felt lost and I was frightened for the first time in my life.”
In his darkest times, Sam realised that asking for help was the only way to beat his depression. He approached his ex-teacher, Stephen Hill and spent valuable time with James Palmer, a life coach from New Thinking.
“With the incredible support of my two mentors, as well as Emily and the rest of my family, I’ve turned a corner leaving the depression behind and I’m falling back in love with my sport too. I’m back into training at 4am every day, I’m on a strict diet, I’m getting the best personal training through Martin Jordan and I’ve got the fire back. Something clicked in my mind after talking to James and Stephen and, with their help, I’ve conquered the depression – now it’s time for a comeback.”
James Palmer of New Thinking said: “Sam initially came to me with depression. We worked on his relationship with his negative thoughts. Once we’d conquered these and helped him to refocus, he then started to become stronger. He’s now fighting fit both physically and mentally.”
Stephen Hill, Sam’s ex-teacher at Walbottle Academy in Newcastle, initially encouraged Sam into boxing as a way of coping with the bullying he was experiencing at school.
Stephen said: “Sam has always overcome adversity in life. This is no exception. He just needed someone to point him in the right direction to overcome his depression. I asked him if, on his death bed, he’d regret giving up boxing. His answer was ‘yes’ so he knew he had to battle his way back to fitness.”
Sam now has his sights firmly set on a return to professional boxing at the turn of 2019 with the help of his mentors and sponsorship from Martin Jordan Fitness.
Sam said: “I’m so grateful for the support and advice I’ve received and used the lessons I’ve learned to better myself, not only in boxing, but professionally as well. My company is going from strength to strength and I’ve even started up a new business, ‘A Cut Above’, providing tree surgery services in and around Newcastle.
“I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved but I couldn’t have done it without the help, love and support of so many people around me. As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: “I’m not a self-made man. People have helped me get where I am today.”
“I’d love to branch out into motivational speaking in the future. I have quite a story to tell about overcoming adversity and reaching life and professional goals. I’ve received so much help and I’d love to pass some of that back on to others.”