LAST year, Tommy Philbin was in a bad place. Such was his mindset, at time, he wished he wasn’t here anymore. Things got so bad, he was admitted to hospital to prevent him doing what he calls “something stupid’.

His depression was so severe that there were days he didn’t want to do anything; least of all drag himself to a boxing gym. But something stopped him doing anything that may have harmed himself, most notably his two young children.

“My dad died when I was only 20 and that still affects me now. So imagine if I did something daft to myself, what that would do to my kids,” he said.

“I actually got taken into hospital because I was in a really bad place, I was in a bad way. I thought about doing something really stupid. But I just couldn’t do that to my kids.”

Much of Philbin’s mental state was down to the way his career was going. In 2017, the Edinburgh fighter won the Celtic Super-Middleweight title with an impressive performance against compatriot Rhys Pagan but since then, things have not gone to plan.

“The last couple of years have been sh*te – there’s no other way of saying it,” he said.

“I didn’t know where my career was going – I’d get chances and I’d jump at them and then they’d not come off and that would just knock me back again.

“I’ve lost count of how many times I considered chucking it.

“I’d be so low, I didn’t want to do anything.”

Philbin didn’t chuck it though – thanks primarily to the support from his wife, Lauren - and began training with Dunfermline coach, Gordon Brennan which has turned out to be a game-changer for Philbin, with the fighter regaining his drive and motivation.

Finally, things are looking up for Philbin, and in the most spectacular way. This evening, he will take part in the Golden Contract tournament in Brentford.

The tournament is a new concept, and will see eight of the best light-heavyweight fighters from around the world battle for a two-year deal, which will see them bag six-figure purses for each fight.

This evening is the quarter-finals and Philbin admits that being invited to be a part of the event still feels somewhat surreal.

“I can’t actually believe this is happening,” said the fighter.

“I knew my name had been put forward for it but in the past few months, so many things have happened with things not coming off that I thought it might not happen. So I’m delighted.

“It’s so good that things are coming good – I actually feel like it’s not real, I can’t believe it. I don’t think I’ll believe this is happening until I’m standing in the corner of the ring. That’s when it’ll hit home I think.”

And Philbin, who currently works as a fishmonger, admits that were he to come out on top and get his hands on the Golden Contract, his life would be changed entirely.

“This would be life-changing for me. And not just for me but also for my missus and my kids,” he said.

“It means so much more with everything I’ve been through too. I never took anything for granted before but it means so much more.

“I feel like I deserve this now. Nothing has really come off for me and that’s so frustrating. I just want to fight.”

Philbin’s last outing was on the undercard of the Lee McGregor – Kash Farooq fight in Glasgow in November where he defeated Englishman Darryl Sharp on points.

This evening, Philbin will face Serge Michel from Russia, with the other fighters making up the quarter-finals Hosea Burton, Steven Ward, Liam Conroy, Bob Ajisafe, Andre Sterling and Ricards Bolotniks.

And while Philbin admits things are not perfect – they may never be – he is delighted he battled through the hard times and has come it the other side.

“I still have bad spells. I see a psychiatrist sometimes and I don’t actually think the depression will ever totally go away, it’s just a case a case of managing it as best I can. I see a psychologist as well and that helps. So I’m on the road back,” he said.

“I’m so happy that I pushed through and things have turned around. I do feel like a different person now compared to a year or so ago.”