Lessons from sport with… Charlie Duffield
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Last week I was lucky enough to meet and chat with professional boxer Charlie Duffield. Charlie, like any boxer, is trying to push himself to see how far he can go in a sport that he loves.
What became apparent after speaking with Charlie, were the struggles he and his loved ones have faced with mental health and addiction. Charlie talks very openly about the loss of his brother, who died from suicide, a couple of years ago, and shares his own story of when he was at his lowest and considered taking his own life. One thing I discussed with Charlie was that he had a choice, he could either talk or not talk about his and his brother’s struggles, and to his credit he has come out swinging at mental health and its associated stigma. Recently becoming an ambassador for CALM.
From this interview, there were a few things I learnt:
The influence a trainer/coach can have, not only on your sporting performance, but your entire life can be tremendous. It was clear to see the impact Mark Tibbs has had on Charlie’s life. People deal with grief / pain in very different ways. But being able to talk about your loss can seem to not only help yourself, but can actually be a huge help to others. Charlie has demonstrated strength beyond belief to talk about his brother and now he is helping others fight their struggles. Everyone has their own battles going on that we don’t know about, so every now and then it’s important to just ask, ‘are you ok mate’. Boxing is a brutal sport, with a shelf life of a few years. If you don’t make it to the very top, you are relying on sponsors and ticket sales to provide you with the opportunity. An amateur fighter has seriously more fights than a professional fighter. Charlie for example has had over 50 amateur fights, but only 9 professional fights.
It was clear to see Charlie is a man who has faced some of his biggest fights, outside of the ring. But even with these struggles, he presents himself with a reassuring calmness, that gives you confidence, that everything will be ok.