MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — At Southpaw’s Boxing Academy in Surfside Beach, the kids are learning more than uppercuts and hooks — they’re learning life lessons.

Southpaw’s Boxing Academy owner, Todd Poulton, started boxing to overcome obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“I’ll tell you, that was the real fight, it wasn’t any of my fights in the ring, it was the battle overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder and it almost took my life,” Poulton said.

Poulton said his psychiatrist encouraged him to think about a passion, so he thought about his dream of becoming a boxer — a celebrity boxer that is.

“I came up with — I’m going to knock out mental illness by knocking out celebrities,” Poulton said.

Since Poulton said boxing helped him overcome OCD, he wanted to help kids going through similar things. He opened up Southpaw’s Boxing Academy four years ago.

“When I see a kid has a little touch of OCD, ADHD, ADD, I know it right away, and they go champ you had that, I think I have that so we can talk,” Poulton said. “They can really relate.”

Poulton opened the academy four years ago, took a break, and now he’s back. Since opening, he’s helped 450 kids of all ages.

“We’re learning how to fight but he doesn’t want us to use it out of here,” said Casey Burns, a student at Southpaw’s Boxing Academy. “He’s teaching us to have respect and he’s just helping us with behavior and just a great guy.”

For more information on Southpaw’s Boxing Academy, visit the website.