Real People With Rudy: Boxer uses daughter's death as motivation - WSMV Channel 4

Real People With Rudy: Boxer uses daughter's death as motivation

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Caleb Plant has been racking up wins as a professional boxer. (WSMV) Caleb Plant has been racking up wins as a professional boxer. (WSMV)
Caleb Plant's daughter died from a mysterious illness in 2016. (WSMV) Caleb Plant's daughter died from a mysterious illness in 2016. (WSMV)
ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) -

Remember the name Caleb Plant.

Someday he's going to be a world boxing champion.

This 24-year-old grew up in absolute poverty living in a trailer in Ashland City. He's not only driven by that, but also by an even greater personal challenge.

"Outside of the gym, I was a poor kid. We didn't have nothing. We didn't always have a lot of food. We had problems at home. I was mad. I was angry. I didn't like how things was, but when I came to the gym, even as a little kid, I got to be the man," Plant said.

At 9 years old, Plant decided that boxing was going to be his ticket out, but it was a one-way ticket, and there was no looking back.

"When you start from nothing, you don't have a lot of chances to mess up and still make it," Plant said.

Plant's calculating mind and lightning-quick hands won him the 2011 National Golden Gloves Championship and a spot as an alternate on the 2012 Olympic Team. Then, in 2014, Plant turned pro.

Nicknamed "Sweet Hands," Plant was a natural, and the wins began to rack up.

However, when he was 5-0 and drawing national attention, his personal life shattered.

His young daughter, Alia, died in January 2016 after struggling with a mysterious ailment that still hasn't been diagnosed.

"When your daughter's on life support, that's pressure. That's nerve-wracking. When you're living in a hospital for a month and a half at a time, that's pressure, and still having to manage a pro career and stay undefeated," Plant said. "To say that it hasn't affected me, Alia passing away, I would be lying. It's affected me a lot."

Just two months later, the fresh wounds of her death are still on his mind daily.

With a new tattoo honoring Alia on his arm, Plant returned to the ring on national television and won in a knockout.

"That's my sanctuary ... I know when I'm in the boxing gym, it's like my safe place - somewhere I can go where I can express myself," Plant said.

And the wins have continued to pile up. He's now 15-0.

Plant is a meteor in the fight game destined for a title shot.

"I got a good platform now. It's a chance for me to reach other people," Plant said. "That's one thing we can all relate to is struggle. Someone sees my story and sees me and how I do things, hopefully makes them want to keep working through what they're going through and make it out to the other side too."

Have someone you'd like Rudy Kalis to meet? Click here to nominate someone for Real People With Rudy.

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