AN INSPIRATIONAL teenage boxer from Reading has defied the odds after getting through to the finals of the National School Championships following a life-threatening accident.

RJ Draper, who is now 14, was just 12 when he was hit by a van travelling at 50mph.

The accident happened in November 2017, three days before he was due to attend a European selection camp for the school championships.

His father Roger said: "RJ was in intensive care and had to undergo surgery on both legs.

"To make things worse, a CT scan picked up a tumour which was thought to be cancer, so he was admitted to the Royal Marsden Hospital.

"Thankfully, he got the all clear from the cancer scare."

After being in a wheelchair, RJ started to walk again, but nobody thought he would be able to return to boxing.

However, the determined 14-year-old began to train again at Pinewood Starr abc boxing club in Wokingham.

Roger, who said his son suffered another blow when he and RJ's mother separated shortly after his return from hospital, described his son as a 'true inspiration'.

Roger added: "He had lost three and a half stone in weight when he began training again.

"After missing a year of the National School Championships, he is now in the finals, which take place on May 18 and 19 at the K2 centre in Crawley."

RJ is now in the championship alongside 22 of his clubmates, who have found motivation through their friend after visiting him in hospital while he was recovering.

Roger added: "He is a true inspiration to any young teenager who has suffered issues or is going through family troubles to never give up on your dreams.

"Through hard work and dedication, anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

"RJ was nicknamed superman while in hospital, for his remarkable recovery."