Outside the Ring: Sam Hadfield

By Jill Diamond on July 2, 2014
Outside the Ring: Sam Hadfield
What does a heart attack, a homeless man, and a hero have in common? Boxing!

“The biggest fear I have is that the people I train and work with might lose their lives to drugs and depression…”

Sports and Philanthropy: A series of articles dedicated to those who’ve given their all and still give more. Each article will feature a different community champion; no belts, no medals, no ratings… just good people passing it on.

Be careful who you meet on the Internet! You just never know. That may be, but then how would’ve I been able to reach over mountains, under oceans and across continents to discover a protagonist like Sam Hadfield? I live in New York and he, as you’ll learn, is very much a citizen of the UK. Whenever people knock sites like Facebook, I think about people like Sam, and how good thoughts and deeds stretch thousands of miles, inspiring and resonating where needed. If I never meet another Sam Hadfield, I’ll remember him, and die smiling. Not everyone in this community is a boxer, a trainer or a promoter; some people are like Sam. They simply love the sport and use it to embrace others like themselves. These are some of the purest enthusiasts. They don’t dream of Belts, or Money or PPV, they practice and perfect the art of boxing, and keep it as a hallowed tool to empower other’s lives; in Sam’s case, many others. Some of his students were thought of as desperate, until he showed them mitts, gloves and hope. To me, and the people Sam helps, he is one of the truest Champions of our sport. And to Sam, each one of his students is a contender, but instead of winning a world title, they win a place in the world. From all of us Sam… Ta!

What was life like before boxing?

After having a heart attack four years ago it stopped me coaching boxing at the local boxing club I coached in. I suffered bad depression after the heart attack and never went out. I closed down my little building company and used to sit at home crying. Then someone told me about homeless shelters that needed people to help.

What inspired you to use boxing as a tool for change?

I then started helping out at this homeless shelter, and almost running it. It gave me back life. I was seeing that these young people needed help. They were all just sitting around playing PC games. I saw that I needed to do something for them, so I brought a pair of boxing gloves and pads in and started padding them. They loved it. So I decided I would start a boxing club myself for homeless people.

Tell me about your gym and how it progressed.

Caris Boxing Club is run for homeless people, boxers and people suffering depression, people with addictions, and some people who just want to come and watch. We also do outreach work. We go on council estates where young people have been killed by gang crime. We take our boxers with us to train local youths

Who are your role models?

My father was a boxing coach and used to train all my friends when we were children. Also the head coach at Caris is Paul Hammick. He is a very good boxing coach and friend. He got me though my depression. Paul is my role model.

Tell me a about a clear win, a knockout.

My clear win was the night after my heart operation. I was taken to the intensive care unit. There were three of us that night. The other two people died. I lived. I believe I was given a second chance.

Who in the community supports your work?

We get support from all over the world. The World Boxing Cares. The ABA of England. Local people in the boxing world to shop keepers, doctors and nurses. 

Many say boxing is bad for children, that it encourages aggression. What do you say?

The only way boxing can be bad for children if it is taught the wrong way. My grandsons have been in our gym from the day they walked. I have not seen it do any child harm to this day

What is your average day like?

I get up; take the dog for walk, then go to work. Some days I do my building work, as I am a builder. And some days I work in schools as a caretaker. I finish work then meet clients some days. Thursdays, I run boxing sessions for local kids. Friday night at Caris run boxing session. Saturdays I do some little jobs for people. Sundays, back at Caris running sessions. Keeping me busy keeps me alive.

What scares you about the responsibility you’ve taken on?

The biggest fear I have is that the people I train and work with might lose their lives to drugs and depression. But I see so much goodness comes out of what we do and who we do it with. It keeps me happy to do it.

A story you’d like to share?

The story I would like to share is about Danny Allen, an ex-boxer whose wife left him with three babies to bring up on his own. He was suffering bad depression for years when he was bringing up his three babies. His father also had a stroke so he became his father’s caretaker, too. His daughter had bumped into the Caris website and Danny Allen called me and asked to train with us. Later I found out that a week before he came to us he was thinking of killing himself. A year later he won boxer of the year. He is one of the loveliest men I have ever met. At the age of 51 he still hits a bag like it was full of paper. This man is a real legend. A real hero. And we love him. 

What are your goals?

My goals are to talk again with the London ABA and see if we can have a homeless boxing day. One where all 500 boxing clubs in London do even one session for our homeless friends. We call it World Homeless Boxing Day

What makes you smile?

Just to see my clients smile makes me happy. And whenever I get an email from Jill Diamond. God bless you Jill you helped me get started.

When it’s over, how would you like to be thought of?

Because of my bad health, bad heart, diabetes and depression, I take every day as it comes. Some days better than others. I am just a normal guy who tries his best. I was a bad guy turned good and I like to try and help the people that need helping in the UK. I would love people to remember me as the little street man who try’s his best. God bless World Boxing Cares.


Outside the Ring: David Berlin
Outside the Ring: Sam Hadfield
Outside the Ring: Steve Farhood
Outside the Ring: Kathy Duva
Outside the Ring: Comanche Boy
Outside the Ring: Margaret Goodman
Outside the Ring: Allen Furst
Outside the Ring: Lonnie and Muhammad Ali
Outside the Ring: Bruce Silverglade

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

England Boxing | Caris Boxing Club 2013

Caris boxing club

caris boxing club Danny Allen

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:39am, 07/03/2014

    This man shows love, care, and kindness for “the least of us” because he knows in his heart that he is not one Goddamned bit better than those that he serves….which reminds me…..neither am I or anyone who has ever visited Boxing.com…..beautiful!

  2. Bob 08:36pm, 07/02/2014

    Thank you, Jill, for sharing this wonderful story.