AN ‘inspiring’ teenager who put his all into boxing after his cousin was stabbed to death said he wishes his ‘best friend’ was there to see his first fight.

Charlie Watson, 16, started attending the Hard Knocks Boxing Gym in Cudworth while his cousin, 15-year-old Loui Phillips, was still alive.

However, on August 8 Loui was stabbed to death on Fish Dam Lane in Monk Bretton by 17-year-old Kyle Pickles, formerly of Kirkstall Road in New Lodge, in a ‘jealous rage’ over a perceived relationship.

Pickles admitted murdering Loui at a hearing on October 25 and appeared at Doncaster Crown Court in December where he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 17 years.

He was also sentenced to three years in prison for possessing an offensive weapon, a term which will be served concurrently.

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The death of Loui, who was one of Charlie’s best friends, hit him hard - but his family and boxing trainers have praised his ‘inspiring’ character for not going down the wrong path of revenge.

His mum, 46-year-old Leigh Ann Phillips, told the Chronicle: “Boxing was originally something he took up so he had something to do - it wasn’t until we lost Loui that he threw himself into it.

“He’s doing all of this for Loui because he knew that he wanted to watch him box.

“I’m so proud and buzzing for everything he’s achieved.”

Charlie could have easily gone down the path of revenge after Loui was murdered but he put all his energy and hurt into his boxing - and it all paid off after he picked up his first win in Birdwell on March 23.

“He had to overcome that feeling of anger and revenge,” she added.

“He’s had some counselling and he’s getting further help - it’s all about making sure he’s okay.

“Understanding something like what happened is so hard and he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“It’s definitely important to put your energy into something else and Loui’s words have stuck with him.

“He’s such a inspiration because it could have easily gone a different way.

“He’s a quiet lad anyway but Loui’s death made it worse - the boxing boosted his confidence and it’s definitely changed his mindset.”

After the three-round fight Leigh Ann says she was overwhelmed with emotion - and that the whole family is ‘super proud’ of him for what he’s done.

Charlie himself said he did it for Loui and wished he was there to see his hand raised.

“It felt like a dream come true - I was buzzing,” he added.

“I wish Loui was here to see it - I now want to carry on to be a professional boxer.”

Charlie’s trainer Chris Shimwell told the Chronicle that the outcome of the fight was a ‘testament to Charlie’s character’ after overcoming tragedy.

“My words can’t cover what pain Charlie and his family have had to endure throughout this period, so I won’t attempt to,” he added.

“This young man came back to the gym and stated that he needed to focus on is boxing, to try to keep himself positive both physically and mentally.

“He mostly wanted to make his cousin proud of him.

“This being the case we gave Charlie a target - to have his first boxing bout.

“From there on he got his head down and busted his guts to get ready for it.

“Supported by family and friends, he stepped through ropes for the first time on March 23 which is big step in itself.

“He landed in a tough three round contest and really had to dig deep.

“What an achievement, win or lose, to focus himself like he has to make his cousin proud and his family proud.

“He could have gone down a different path but it’s a testament to him he didn’t - and it shows how useful places like boxing gyms are.

“We’ve got the facility but it’s all about what’s inside of him.”