DEVOTED father Sam Cooper has taken it on the chin for his young son.

Five-year-old Max is being treated for a cancer affecting his white blood cells after being diagnosed earlier this year.

The youngster’s father, from Woodingdean, Brighton, did eight weeks training before stepping into the ring for an Ultra White Collar boxing match.

The 36-year-old went three rounds to raise money for Cancer Research UK but his main aim was to make Max proud.

Mr Cooper said: “It was really tough and exhausting but it’s nothing to what Max has been through.

“I wanted to do it for him and for all other children suffering from cancer.”

Max was found to have Hodgkin lymphoma in May this year after mother Ashleigh spotted a lump on his neck.

He has since been through two rounds of chemotherapy and 12 days of radiotherapy, which had to be done under general anaesthetic .

He is now well although still needs further tests to ensure he is clear of the disease.

However, in the meantime, he has been able to start Rudyard Kipling Primary School in Woodingdean.

Mr Cooper, a carpenter, was new to boxing when he signed up for training and the event took place at The Grand hotel in Brighton.

He said: “I didn’t realise quite how hard it was going to be.

“It was physically and mentally exhausting.

“They push you really hard in the training so that you can cope with what is thrown at you in the ring – I’ve never been so exhausted.

“The fight is only six minutes in total but there is nowhere to hide and you come out utterly destroyed.

“But it is also exciting and exhilarating and I wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending others to give it a go.”

Max was too young to see his father triumph over his opponent on the night but has seen him in action on video.

Mr Cooper said: “Max is truly our inspiration.

“It’s the hardest thing that has ever happened to our family but Max has set the tone.

“He has always had a smile on his face and whatever treatment he has had to have, once he has had it, he has come out laughing and full of life.

“He’s the strongest person I know and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Each member of the family has done some fundraising to support Max and other children. Ashleigh celebrated her 30th birthday by taking part in Race for Life Pretty Muddy, sister Jamie, 16, organised a sponsored walk and brother Lewis, 13, took part in a fun run at his school, Longhill High.

Sam’s fundraising is part of a staggering £10million raised by Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) on behalf of Cancer Research UK.

The founder of UWCB thanked Sam and others in Sussex for their support after the fundraiser this week reached the £10million milestone in just four years.

Jon Leonard, from Derby, created UWCB in 2009 to give people with no boxing experience the opportunity to train with a professional boxing coach and then take part in a safe but competitive three round bout.

In 2013 he started using the boxing events to raise money for Cancer Research UK to fund research into the disease. He called the £10m milestone “absolutely incredible”.

Jon, 36, said: “We really had no idea how successful the events would become but over the last few years people have really embraced the event.

“The support we received from those taking part in Sussex and their family and friends, is magnificent. The amount of money raised at each event is staggering.”

Since it began, 36,000 people have signed up to the events held in 100 towns and cities across the UK, all getting sponsored to take to the ring.

Each participant receives eight weeks free training at a local partner gym with professional coaches, in a safe and enjoyable environment.

At the end of the training they are matched with an opponent from their group to take part in a competitive bout at a special black tie event in front of their family, friends and supporters.

Not only are participants helping to beat cancer, but many lose weight and make changes to live a new, healthy lifestyle.

Many of those taking part have already seen first-hand the impact of cancer and have their own personal motivation for raising money and getting fit.

Jon, who is already looking towards the next milestone of £20million, added: “I’m extremely proud of all of the effort and hard work everyone at Team UWCB and the participants put in to make these events a huge success.

“I am constantly overwhelmed by the participants and astounded when I think of the reasons why each participant signs up, whether it be in celebration of being all clear of cancer or in memory of a loved one. I feel humbled and inspired by the amazing people that take part in our events and incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”

Ed Aspel Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Cancer Research UK said: “The success of Ultra White Collar Boxing and the amount of money raised is phenomenal. We are so grateful to the organisers behind each event, every person that signs up to get into the ring and the generosity of their friends and family who sponsor them. Together they are helping to fund our pioneering research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“Back in the 1970s, just 1 in 4 people with cancer survived for 10 years or more. Thanks to research, today 2 in 4 people survive – and our ambition is to accelerate progress so that within the next 20 years, this figure will reach 3 in 4. With the support of partners like UWCB we can make this a reality and continue to support thousands of scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK.”

The health and safety of supporters is paramount and UWCB strictly regulate all of their events and adhere to all necessary health and safety procedures, this includes during training, as well as the wearing of full headgear in the competitive bout and 16oz gloves at all times. Bouts are restricted to a maximum of three rounds of two minutes, with one-minute intervals, and fully accredited medics are always in attendance and check participants before and after their bouts.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. It receives no government funding and every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated by people like the UWCB participants.

To find out more about UWCB visit the website