James Ogden Muay Thai title win spurred on by baby daughter’s death

A world champion Thai boxer from South Yorkshire has said he won his title by channelling the heartbreak caused by the death of his child.

James Ogden’s daughter, Nova, was stillborn in December 2022 following an infection during his wife’s pregnancy.

Mr Ogden went on to win the Light Heavyweight title fight at the Muay Thai Grand Prix in Rotherham in October the following year.

He said thinking about Nova put him “in the best position possible” to win.

The boxer’s Grand Prix victory at Magna in Rotherham less than 12 months after Nova’s death saw him come face to face with fellow champion Frederik Winter.

Mr Ogden won by split-decision, making him a world champion in the Thai martial art for the first time.

However, he has told BBC Look North that he had previously feared he would never step into a boxing ring again following Nova’s death.

“I came into this sport wanting to achieve things for myself,” he said.

“But winning that fight was a fight I had to win for her, because if Nova didn’t die, I don’t know if I’d have ever fought again because I would have been a dad.

“Thinking about Nova really gave me everything I needed to put me in the best position possible to win this fight,” he said.

Mr Ogden added that when his victory was announced, his wife, Ash, came into the ring.

“I didn’t know that she would bring the photo of [Nova’s] feet. I gave it a kiss and Ash just wanted to take a photo.

“It was a really proud moment for me.”

Trix March, Mr Ogden’s auntie, trainer and a former fighter who works with him at his Wicker Camp in Sheffield, said he was now the strongest he had ever been.

“I’ve seen him grow from a six-year-old kid who didn’t really want to do any sparring, who was always really nervous and cried a lot,” she said.

“Then, seeing him grow in his 20s, earning English champion, for me James has really come into his own in his 30s. This has been his time.”

Mr Ogden said he now hoped to become a double-world champion at a title fight with Charlie Bubb in Australia next month.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk