Boxing: Booth set for another bonus after keeping demons at bay
Friday 05 February 2010
Jason Booth has never denied what he did during the two years that he went missing from boxing and that makes his return, his championship reign and his current form even more astounding.
Booth is an alcoholic and walked away from boxing after losing a world title fight in 2004 to find bliss in drink for 24 months, and it ended only when he could hear his body telling him to quit. He walked into Jimmy Gill's gym; urgent hospital checks confirmed the damage that the drinking had done.
"I lived to drink," said Booth. "It's that simple – I drank anything that I could get my hands on. I didn't care, I didn't know and I don't have a reason for doing it – I was going to die if I carried on and somewhere I knew that."
Booth, who is now 32, defends his British super-bantamweight title and fights for the vacant Commonwealth version against Matthew Marsh at the Harvey Hadden Leisure Centre, Nottingham, tonight in the latest of 18 title fights, which started with a European title fight in 1999 when he was just 21.
In 2004 when Booth retired to his bedroom to drink, his brother Nicky had just been released from prison, where he had been sentenced to two years for an incident in a crack house. The brothers dropped off the radar together on the Nottingham estates. Nicky had been the British bantamweight champion when he was sentenced, but was stripped of his belt.
"It was bad for both of us," remembers Booth. "I managed to get back in the gym; the boxing saved me, it's that simple. Nicky is still trying." People that knew the brothers at the time warned that unless they moved from the streets that knew them both too well, they would end up in trouble. Now Booth lives in Bilborough, which is a few important miles from the Strelley Estate, with a new partner, their two children and two of hers from a previous marriage.
"I've gone further than I expected when I first went back to the gym," admitted Booth. "This is all a bonus to me – I'm living my life now one glorious day at a time." A sponsor couldn't have put it better.
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unhappy forward is ready to quit Real Madrid, according to Angel Di Maria
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Hull City vs West Ham match report: Enner Valencia stars as honours shared at the KC Stadium
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...
£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...
£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...