We’ve kicked off the first Life Story event of 2019 with a visit from one of Scotland’s best known boxers. Charlie “The Mailman” Flynn shared his life story with our Glasgow and Edinburgh Orbiteers on Thursday night.
Born in Motherwell, Charlie found his passion for boxing at just seven years old after his father suggested that he fights in the ring, as opposed to on the street. He took up boxing at a local gym, and began fighting in Scottish, British and European tournaments.
Charlie worked full time at the Royal Mail to support his boxing career. He would wake up to train at 6am every morning, go to work, and then train again in the evening.
Before the Commonwealth Games, Charlie recalls being in a “rut” and was pondering over the future of his career. “I had been training for five years, and I had nothing to show for it”, he recalls. “I didn’t have any sponsors, I was balancing my training with a full-time job at the Royal Mail, and my mind was barraged with doubts, fears and anxieties.”
Charlie highlighted the importance of having a role model, or a mentor, that will stay by your side during the tough times. In Charlie’s case, his father kept him going when the going got tough. The Commonwealth Games proved to be the turning point in Charlie’s career.
In 2014, Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games, and Charlie spotted his opportunity. “I didn’t realise how big the games would be. My life was changed overnight”. Charlie was competing for the Gold Medal in the lightweight competition. He recalls being nervous at first, but after winning the first fight, his momentum started to grow. “By the time I entered the ring at the final, I believed that I would win. I told my coach halfway through the fight “I’ve won”, and he started shouting at me to stay focused!”
Charlie lifted the Gold Medal, and received a sanding ovation from thousands of Scots in the audience. In a now famous TV interview with Amir Khan after the fight, Charlie thanked everyone who helped him on his journey, and thanked the Scottish fans for their encouragement. After the awards ceremony, Charlie was surrounded by fans and “couldn’t walk down the street” without being mobbed by jubilant Glaswegians.
Charlie went on to secure sponsorship deals with some of the UK’s largest companies, and had the financial backing to focus on boxing full time. He went on to win a further ten professional fights, and has founded Inspiration for Schools which sees athletes deliver motivational talks to school students around the UK. Charlie is now married, and announced that he will soon be a Dad.
Charlie spent time answering questions from our Orbiteers, Champions and Sponsors. After the interview was complete, he spent time meeting with our Orbiteers in person and giving them his advice on what it takes to achieve success.
Some of the advice included:
1) “Have a plan, with clear milestones and targets.”
2) “Have a mentor who can pick you up when things aren’t going well.”
3) “You’re only as good as your last fight. If you get injured in the boxing world, you’re yesterday’s news. You’ve got to keep fighting. People have short memories, and you’ll only be as good as your last fight.”