A SCOTTISH boxing trainer who emigrated to Australia is hoping a book based on his life will be adapted for the big screen when it’s pitched at a major film festival this month.

Gary Todd, 58, originally from Dundee, released his book Annie’s Boy last October after initially writing it as a screenplay.

“It’s a generational story about a wee boy and his mum growing up in Dundee. It’s a brutal and emotional story but it’s also one of hope and never giving up”, he told The National.

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In an exclusive interview, the boxing coach revealed what life was like growing up in Scotland, why he emigrated to Australia and whether or not he’d like to keep writing.

Growing up in Scotland

Todd (below) admitted that his life as a youngster in Scotland wasn’t always easy. He left school at a young age to earn money for him and his mum.

“I never went to school after I was 14. I wasn’t stupid but it just felt like a different language to me so I started working in a butcher’s shop and then started working in the abattoir," he explained.

“I worked there for a long time. I was going to join the paratroopers but at the time I didn’t want to leave my mum.

“It was always me and her, we lived in a high-rise flat.”

The National: Gary Todd with actor Brian CoxGary Todd with actor Brian Cox (Image: Gary Todd)

Eventually though, somebody who worked with Gary offered him a chance to leave Scotland and start a new life in Australia.

“I thought I had to give it a go because there wasn’t really any opportunities left for me in Dundee so that was the reason I left.”

A life in boxing

Todd is a man of many talents. Not only is he an author and screenwriter, but he’s also helped to coach world champion boxers and was recently told he’d been nominated to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

As far as he’s aware this would make him only the second Scotsman on the list after Ken Buchanan.

Throughout his time in boxing, he helped to coach super-middleweight world champion Anthony Mundine.

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“The training has always been a part of my life and still is. I’ve always trained, done a lot of running and marathons," he said.

He's also interviewed over 150 world champions including Muhammad Ali.

Todd explained that part of his motivation in training was in case his father returned after he abused both him and his mother.

That story of domestic violence forms part of the book Annie’s Boy.

Writing a book

Annie’s Boy actually started off as a screenplay, one Todd was encouraged to write by a producer he met for a drink.

“It’s really a love story between a wee boy and his mum set in the 1970s and 80s and it spans 15 years of their lives together and what they did to survive with some funny stories thrown in there.”

Looking back on his life wasn’t always an easy experience, and he admits that writing the book was an exhausting process.

He explained: “It took a lot out of me but I’m really happy I done it. It’s a good thing because I never spoke about anything I went through.”

Todd said that he had to testify against his father when he was just 10 years old.

“I’d never spoke about it, my wife and my kids didn’t really have a clue. But what I really wanted was for my mum to be remembered.

“We emigrated here and have a small family but not the book has been released and distributed. It doesn’t really matter that the book is in Waterstones or whatever, it’s on our shelf and we’ll always remember it.”

The National:

The screenplay is due to be pitched at the Melbourne International Film Festival which starts on August 3, where Todd will discover if his work is destined for the big screen.

So, has all this fuelled a passion to continue writing?

“No," he said, laughing.

“I was passionate about this and put my heart and soul into it but as far as that goes it’s really not my world.

“Good on folk that do it for a living but I just wanted to do it because this one guy asked me.”

Even if he doesn’t keep up his writing though, there’s probably still a few world champions in waiting in need of his services.