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American dream turned to depression for boxer Dee-Jay Kriel

Sport

American dream turned to depression for boxer Dee-Jay Kriel

After four frustrating years in the US, the former IBF strawweight champion is back in SA to revive his career

Sports reporter

Former world champion Dee-Jay Kriel returned to his old gym beaming a smile that belied the hard times and depression he suffered trying to forge a career in the US.

Much of his first session back at Colin Nathan’s Hot Box gym in Johannesburg last week was filled embracing and chatting to the stablemates he trained and sparred with before he left.

His trademark smile and energy never faded, not even when the occasional observer commented on his extra poundage, which made him look more like a welterweight than a junior-flyweight. “I’m fat,” Kriel admitted with his usual honesty, still grinning...

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