Professional boxer Mike Lee has built an impressive career while battling an autoimmune disease. We go behind the scenes and get to know the real man behind the gloves as he prepares for his world title match against a defending champion.
Mike Lee: He’s 21-0
Mike Lee: July 20th, baby.
I fought at Madison Square Garden, Cowboy Stadium — some huge venues. But ultimately, I've always said this: The best feeling in life is when you're scared or nervous — you have those butterflies in your stomach — and you still do it. You still step through. It's just one of the most beautiful feelings in life.
So July 20th, I fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on FOX — it's for a world title. And for boxing, it doesn't get any bigger than this.
In 2014, Mike was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. AS is an autoimmune disease that causes severe pain. Mike was hospitalized regularly for two years.
This helps. Right now, I'm achy after sparring. Right now, it’s at -180, -186. Here we go. Pop these on.
It's so much more than training for me. I'm constantly trying to repair my body. This autoimmune disease that I got diagnosed with is no joke and I feel like I need to do twice as much as the normal athlete to repair my body.
There were moments in my life that I thought that it was over for me. My darkest times — at one point I was in the hospital 14 days straight and trying to break the pain cycle and my immune system is shutting down just everything. I became really depressed.
So I started surrounding myself with positive things. Every single day I would visualize myself back in the ring or visualize myself out of the hospital or feeling good and feeling excited. And it's incredible that your body will listen to your mind.
From pain to purpose — I truly do believe that God put me through this pain to empathize with people. The next chapter in my life is going to be about helping people, about healing people. That's one thing I'm passionate about. And I'm going to win this title and continue to use this platform to help people. From pain to purpose.