Boxer Andy Flute found himself in the fight of his life as he battled alcoholism and violence – but when he invited a much needed friend into his corner, he was able to give a knock-out punch to his addictions.
After retiring at the age of 30, the former British Middleweight Title Challenger was on the ropes as his life spiralled out of control. The father of three, who has shared the ring with the likes of Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, was at the end of a ten-day booze binge when he cried out to God.
He knew this was one fight he couldn't win alone.
He said: "It's all thanks to Jesus. I tried everything but the only way out was Him. I believe that God has kept me here to reach people who wouldn't normally go to church. Through my story they can see that tough men love Jesus too!"
"I boxed at a high level but I was fighting booze the whole time," he said.
"My drinking was out of control and I'd already been to prison for alcohol-related violence. I had nowhere else to go. I came to Jesus and asked God into my life. I was in my bedroom and I dropped onto my hands and knees and I was crying out in pain. I'd lost everything. To come from such success to being a broken man, I prayed, 'Please God help me to get out of this.'"
In 2015, Andy, now 49, was healed of his addiction.
He said: "I remember saying to God, 'If I go through with it will you take my alcoholism away?' And He did! My addiction just left me."
Now Andy, who lives in the West Midlands, spends his time going into prisons telling his story to anyone who will listen.
"I think back over my life and the times that I'd tried to kill myself," he said. "I'd had so many near misses and I knew that God has saved me for a reason.
"I've gone full circle. Now I go and tell criminals and addicts about Jesus and what he's done for me. The people who knew me before can't believe the change. I tell them that God did it!
"My favourite Bible verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – 'If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation' –_because that's what happened to me."
Andy's book 'Jesus In My Corner' is available now.
"The book's a miracle in itself because I left school with no qualifications," he said.
"It's about reaching people who wouldn't normally want to know about God. I was a hard man and a fighter, and if I can love Jesus then maybe it can reach those people like me."•