Dex is a psychology and criminology student and the founder of JMSU’s Boxing Society. The society has not only brought students together in the world of sport, but has helped to form a community where people are also using boxing to support their mental health. At JMSU’s Sports Ball 2023, hosted at Liverpool Football Club, Dex won Sports Member of the Year.
Dex features in our ‘Humans of LJMU’ series in collaboration with the ‘Humans of Liverpool’ social media account, sharing the stories of the people who make our city, communities and university the vibrant, inclusive place it is in celebration of our bicentenary year.
In his interview he reflects on a difficult start to his university journey but how this turned around in his second year after setting up the boxing club and connecting with its members.
“It feels like we’re really reinventing the idea of boxing at university across the country. It’s just switched everything and my whole university experience has changed.”
– Dex Wright
Dex’s ‘Humans of LJMU’ interview
“I found the first year of uni really difficult. I didn’t get on with the other lads in my flat. We had very different lifestyles and I began to feel really isolated and alone. A lot happened that ultimately led to me moving to another flat with a group of international students. They were really nice but they couldn’t speak much English, so we communicated by cooking for each other and leaving it out in the kitchen. They cooked Chinese food and put my name on it and I cooked English food for them. It was nice but there was no real social aspect.
“When I went home for the summer I got quite depressed. Uni was supposed to be fun and social but I didn’t have that. I’m not sure I’d have done second year but my dad said “Just give it one more go. If you really hate it, bin it and do something else”.
“I returned to uni and really wanted to do boxing but there wasn’t a club, so I decided to start my own. That was a year ago and we’re now one of the most successful clubs in the uni. We’ve just hit 100 members; we’re going all over the other country sparring with other unis which wasn’t being done before. It feels like we’re really reinventing the idea of boxing at university across the country. It’s just switched everything and my whole university experience has changed.
“At the sports awards, we were nominated for seven awards - the most of any club. After that, I got three messages from people in the club saying ‘Dex, I probably wouldn’t be here now, I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for boxing’. I absolutely broke down crying - my dad thought there was something wrong. It was just the realisation of the impact I’d been able to have on people. I’ve had my own issues with mental health, and I didn’t realise it until I was speaking to a friend the other day, but I don’t think I would have personally made it this far without boxing either. It’s a great sport because you focus on yourself, you push yourself as far as you can. We put free sessions on Mondays and Saturdays, just to help people get some anger out, reduce their stress, get them out the house and get them moving. We want to give them that start to help them grow as a person.
“So, my experience of uni started terribly but now I love it, it’s been such a turnaround. I even won Sports Person of the Year which I’m so proud of. I want to keep making an impact on people and really help them. I’ve seen too many people get depressed and not enjoy their experience. I want to help people build their confidence and try to give them the help they need.”
Dex also shared his story in a JMSU podcast mini-series, in an episode dedicated to talking about mental health. Listen back via Spotify.