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Adrian Roach back in the ring after dealing with loss and grief

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Difficult period: Adrian Roach, who took time away from the ring after struggling with the loss of his grandfather, Vic Ball (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A rejuvenated Adrian Roach concedes he considered walking away from boxing in advance of his return to the ring at the Brampton Cup, in Ontario, Canada.

The Bermudian amateur will be competing at the prestigious event – Canada’s largest Olympic-style boxing tournament – in the Elite Male Open 61-71kg division, with his first bout scheduled for Saturday.

However, the 21-year-old admits the prospect of stepping between the ropes again was the furthest thing from his mind in the aftermath of his previous fight, a 23rd victory of his career, over Itoro Akpoudo in Texas, in November, as he continued to grieve the loss of his grandfather, Vic Ball, just a month earlier

“I feel like the break I’ve had since that fight was much needed,” said Roach. “I was trying to deal with a recent death in the family and mentally and physically I just felt like I couldn’t process it properly, it took a lot out of me.

“I just didn’t feel like boxing any more because it almost felt like I was being forced to do it at a time when I didn’t want to.

“It started to take a bit of a mental toll on me and so I had to a break from away it.”

The time away from the ring appears to have had the desired effect, affording Roach the opportunity to rediscover his passion for the sport and reignite his desire.

Ready to rumble: A rejuvenated Adrian Roach has set his sights on gold at the prestigious Brampton Cup, in Ontario, Canada

“I took a month off to fully focus on myself and I felt like that was crucial,” he added. “Boxing isn’t a sport you can play around with and so it was important to take a break.

“Having that time away was the right thing to do and having been back a little while, I’ve fallen back in love with the sport and I’m fully focused on the Brampton Cup.”

Hungry again for success, Roach is relishing the opportunity to test himself in the prestigious tournament against some of the best amateurs from not only the region, but also farther afield.

“This is one of the biggest tournament for amateurs in Canada and unlike the national championships it’s also open to overseas fighters so you’re getting talent coming there from all over the world to compete,” he said.

“I’m going there with the aim of winning gold and nothing else. I’ve gone away to competitions like the CAC Games and not had things go my way, but I’m confident I can win this, which would be a big accomplishment.

“Since getting back into training, I’ve done nothing but eat, drink and sleep boxing, it’s all I’ve been focused on.

“I’m heading into the tournament really hungry again. I feel like I’ve really fine-tuned my craft, had no distractions whatsoever and couldn’t be any better prepared.

“I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and so I want to start what promises to be a big year with a bang.”

After being handed a bye straight through to the semi-finals, Roach finds himself just two bouts from triumph, starting with an opening fight against Josh Melvin, an opponent he has previously beaten.

However, despite his previous success over the Woodstock Boxing Club fighter, Roach, who represents Crandall University, is taking nothing for granted.

“Unlike normal tournaments at this level, we are given the schedule ahead of time and so I knew who my opponent was,“ he added.

“I beat him before around two years ago, but while that gives me confidence I also know I can’t take anything for granted.

“I know I have the skill set to beat him, but that previous fight was two years ago and this is an entirely different fight. I know we will have both developed a lot since then and I go into it with nothing but respect for him.

“If I can get past him then I will be going all out in the final to win gold. Winning the whole tournament would be great and mean a lot but more than anything it would prove something to myself.”

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Published February 02, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated February 02, 2024 at 7:36 am)

Adrian Roach back in the ring after dealing with loss and grief

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