Caleb Plant overcame heartbreak of baby's death and mum being killed by cops after learning to box in ring made of tape

CALEB PLANT will challenge the greatest boxer on the planet in Canelo Alvarez – but he has already won far bigger fights in his life.

The unbeaten super-middleweight is 21-0 and currently reigns as the IBF champion ahead of the unification bout over the weekend in Las Vegas.

But he remarkably achieved the feat after the tragic death of his baby daughter Alia before later losing his mother Beth, who was shot dead by police.

Nothing he faces in the ring could possibly come close to the heartbreak already suffered, but it has helped shape the American's resolve.

In an exclusive interview, Plant, 29, told SunSport: “I feel like the situations you go through, they make you who you are and there’s clearly no quit in me.

“I could have quit a long time ago, and people would have said, ‘Well, it makes sense because of this, or because of that’."

Plant started boxing at the age of eight in his hometown of Ashland City in Tennessee, which has a population of just over 4,500 people.

With no local boxing club in sight, parents were forced to tape together a makeshift ring, or huddle around to make a square.


It may not have been the most traditional start for Plant, but quickly helped him find his passion for the sport.

He said: “When you really want something, regardless of what it is, you don’t always have to have the fanciest gear or the latest technology, or the greatest, latest stuff.

“Just like many great boxers before me, regardless of where they’re from, they’re not always starting out with the nicest stuff.

“You don’t need the latest stuff to get where you’re heading – all you need is focus and drive.”

Plant went on to have a successful amateur career, representing the USA squad, even acting as an alternate on the 2012 Olympic team.

But his humble beginnings are what inspired him to reach the boxing pinnacle – and make sure he stays there.

Plant said: “Most great men start in that position, with very little and that’s what motivates them to get where they’re going.

“When there’s tough moments, having that to lean on, thinking back like, ‘I gotta make this work, this has to happen’.

“Because you think there’s no way I can go back to that, or live out the rest of my days in a situation like that or let my children grow up like that.

“Just like many other great men who have accomplished a lot in life, it’s a good motivation.”

Plant turned professional in May 2014, 12 months after he had welcomed baby daughter Alia into the world.

However, she was unfortunately born with an unknown medical condition which caused seizures.

Plant sat and cared for Alia every day, but after 19 months she passed away after catching a respiratory infection which developed into pneumonia.

The devastated boxer vowed to win a world title for his little girl, and in 2019 his promise was fulfilled after beating Jose Uzcategui on points.

Plant dedicated the win to Alia and later took his IBF belt to her grave.

But in another devastating incident, in March 2019, only two months after the greatest night in his boxing career, the fighter's mother was shot dead.

Plant's mum Beth was fatally wounded by police in Tennessee after they said she pulled a knife on an officer.

The undefeated fighter continues to honour his daughter and mother, wearing their names on his short.

He has made three successful defences of his title, earning him the right to fight for Canelo's WBC, WBA and WBO belts in a historic undisputed title decider.

And despite having the odds once more stacked against him, Plant explains he has come too far to fail now.

He said: “This boxing thing is a one-way trip for me. I burned all my ships when I started over here, there is no return, there is no going back.

“Boxing is a one-way trip for me and I am going to get where I want to get and accomplish what I want to accomplish.”

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