HEAVYWEIGHT boxing hope David Allen has lifted the lid on a desperate battle with gambling that has seen him try to take his own life.
Doncaster fighter Allen is hoping to be crowned Commonwealth Heavyweight champion when he takes on Lenroy Thomas on Saturday.
And in doing so the 24-year-old wants to finally bury the demons he says have hampered his career, and left him so poor he ended up living in a garden shed.
Allen said: “I sit in the house, I watch horse racing pining for a bet, just pining, like making dog noises at the telly when horse racing’s on.
“Gambling has f***** up my life, since I was eight-years-old I’ve been betting. Obviously not a lot then, like a pound on a Saturday, I used to sit on my dads knee and pick them out.
“In June 2015, I tried to take my own life at that point, it was like a ‘cry for help,’ I’ve always been like that since I was like 14-15.
“I didn’t leave the house for six weeks I was in a bad place – I was 22 stone I didn’t change my clothes for six weeks, I didn’t wash.
“Last year when I boxed Dillian Whyte I gambled all my money away from the fight.
“I’m a very proud man, I lost the fight and shook Dillian Whyte’s hand because he was the better man.
“It did effect me, losing hurts, I lost to Luis Ortiz and that affected me as well.
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“So I gambled all the money away and I had a sit down and said I don’t want to box anymore, I’m not mentally in a position where I feel like I can do it.”
Allen has revealed how a visit from Amir Khan and Brendan Ingle helped turn his life, and career around.
Now he is hoping to really make his mark on the undercard to the Kell Brook v Errol Spence world welterweight title clash at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.
In an interview with iFL TV, Allen added: “Amir Khan came to my house, I was sat on my bed in my pants.
“He came to my house with Brendan Ingle, and Brendan was holding my hand and just saying that I need to get back in the gym and I just stopped.
“I didn’t really want to box again, but the Luis Ortiz fight I wasn’t really in the position financially where I couldn’t box, so I boxed Luis Ortiz.
“When I accepted the fight I probably wasn’t in the right place to fight.
“I still have bad days now, things are looking really up but people will tell you it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.
“I’ve been to the doctors I’ve had a lot of counselling and whatever, I’m a special man, I’m not a danger to anyone else, just to myself.
“I wake up some days and I want a f****** bet, last week I was like I want a f****** bet today.
“And when it’s good racing, you know when Ascot’s on, some days I’ll be honest I’ll have a bet.
“I’ll tell you something, over the years I’ve been very devious about having a bet as well, I’ve done some bad things to have a bet.
“That’s something I’m going to have to live with all my life, I’ve got a gambling problem.
“I’ve done very well recently not gambling but it’s always there.
“Things are good now though, I’m the Commonwealth champion on Saturday night, it don’t get any better than that does it, so how can I not be happy at that?
“I could be heavyweight champion, but it’s not going to solve the chemical imbalance in my brain, if you’re not happy no amount of money is going to make you happy.
“I was gambling and that was my crutch, it was masking and taking my mind off other things, you can mask it for a certain will but it doesn’t last forever.
“In terms of gambling once you blow your f****** money it just intensifies the feeling anyway – you’re f****** ready to blow.
“I don’t want to start gambling because I’ve never had a holiday in my life.
“I don’t go out, I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, I don’t smoke, I don’t do anything, gambling can intensify a dark day and make it ten times worse.
“To win the commonwealth title at Bramall Lane means a lot, I feel a bit emotional talking about it, because it’s just the right moment, everyone around me, it just means so much to everyone.
“From where I was June 2015, where I was August 2016, I never fought I’d ever become world champion.
“One thing I can promise, Lenroy Thomas if he’s going to beat me on Saturday night, he’s going to have to f****** nail me to the floor.
“Saturday night you’re going to see the best of me you’ve ever seen because, I always come to win but Saturday night means so much more than ever before, it’s difficult to express it just means so much.