The recently retired world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe had been turned into an "introverted wreck" by school bullies when he was 13, he said yesterday.
"For two years I was bullied, called names and ignored by former friends which turned me from a happy, outgoing kid who enjoyed school into an introverted wreck, detached from his studies and scared of his own shadow during school hours," said the Welshman, pictured, who quit last month, unbeaten after 46 fights.
The former world super middleweight champion was launching the Beatbullying project website CyberMentors.
Calzaghe, 37, added: "Unfortunately, in the age of the internet – which didn't exist in my school days – cyber-bullying has now added to the misery bullies can inflict. I was the best fighter in the world, but I was also somebody who was bullied – it just goes to show it can happen to anyone
"My boxing was like escapism for me. If I was sad and down I would go to the gym and it was a way of expressing myself, getting out the anger and all the feelings inside me. When you've got 10 or 20 kids calling you names, it becomes very uncomfortable."