A big win doesn't always come on a field, court, or black top. Sometimes it happens in the ring.
Back in November, we told you about a young man who was working hard to pull himself out of homelessness and searching for new beginnings, using the sport of boxing to help him battle personal struggles. On Thursday, he took his battles to the ring...to fight in his first match.
Tickets were bought, and wrist bands were clipped, as the crowd shuffled into Grandma's Sports Garden in Duluth for a night of amateur boxing.
What most of the crowd was oblivious to is the internal bout going on upstairs in the warm-up room.
"I'm trying not to get too nervous for it," said one of the stars of Thursday nights show, Shawn Fuller. "It's my first fight. I mean I've only been doing this for four months," he mumbled timidly.
First fight in the ring, but only the first of many personal battles. Up until recently, Shawn was homeless.
In the last year, Shawn escaped a shaky life in Chicago and came to Duluth. His brother had offered him a place to stay, but once he got to town, he found that the house had burned down.
Homeless and broke, he found refuge at the Life house in Duluth. it was through them that he met Zach Walters and Jungle Boy Boxing.
"When Shawn first came to Life house, I don't know if he would be doing all these things that he's doing in his life. He got some support and some services that were offered to him and he ran with it," said Shawn's case manager at the Life House.
And on this big night, he's not running alone. His case manager, Kyle, is there along with a whole slew of Life House staff members and members of the team that helped him find his passion.
"The sky is the limit. The sky is the limit with this kid. All he needed was a little guidance. And he's got that with Life house and Jungle Boy," said Kyle.
"Whether win or lose, where he's come from, I would never have thought that he'd be here right now so win or lose is irrelevant."
But for the young man who has worked so hard, it certainly felt good to take home the trophy. In the end, he won his bout.
Shawn is also starting classes at Lake Superior College this Semester, and is pursuing a career as a construction manager.