Dean James: how I beat cancer and became Muaythai World Champion

When he first saw a muaythai exhibition bout 15 years ago, Dean James had no idea that the event would change his life.
Today, the 32-year-old from Wolverhampton is one of the world’s best exponents of the martial art, which combines the use of fists, elbows, knees and shins in explosive sequences. He’s already been crowned World Muaythai Champion at three different weight levels. But perhaps more importantly than that, he also credits the sport with helping him to overcome colon cancer.

Despite an active childhood, Dean was diagnosed with the disease at the age of just 19. He underwent several operations and seven months of chemotherapy, but he kept up his gym visits during this time and started to incorporate the Thai boxing style into his training, even though it ran against medical advice.
I spent so much time in hospital and I felt I was missing out on so much,” says the full-time school teacher. “I had to drop out of university after the diagnosis and the frustration built up inside me over time.
He continues to compete in events regularly whilst also working at Spring Hill, an independent facility for students with Behavioural Emotional Social Difficulties (BESD), autism and underlying issues of mental health.
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