A Cape Breton man says his life was turned around after taking up boxing, and now he dreams of becoming a Canadian champion.  

Ryan Rozicki says he’s been getting into fights his whole life. But when he was younger, they landed him in serious trouble.

"It was definitely leading to a dead-end road,” Rozicki says. “I would fight at least once every two weeks and get in trouble with the law for it."

Rozicki’s father took him to the local boxing club to “straighten him out.” He says the rest is history.

"I just fell in love with boxing,” says Rozicki. “I never looked back. I never wanted to fight again.

Life in the ring has opened a whole new world of opportunity for the once troubled teen. Rozicki has boxed for the Canadian national team and at Olympic qualifiers.

"Since I started boxing, I went from being completely disrespected, for being a hooligan, to now. Everybody respects me, and I'm kind of looked up to by the younger crowd."

Rozicki is already giving back to his community by fixing up and reopening his old boxing club after it closed several months ago. He also speaks at schools in hopes his story will inspire youth who are at risk.

One of Rozicki’s longer-term goals is to headline a pro card at Sydney's Centre 200.

"I think the biggest accomplishment is that now I have a whole island looking up to me," says Rozicki.

His biggest goals are to bring a Canadian title back to Cape Breton someday and help grow the sport he loves, so that troubled kids can find their passion, as well.

"My advice to anybody going down the wrong path is find something you're good at, and never look back. Set your goals so high that people think you're crazy, and just make it happen."

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.