Hawaii-born boxing champ says 'divine intervention' led her to sport

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - Last month in the Philippines, Hawaii-born boxer Casey Morton won the World Boxing Organization's Asia Pacific female flyweight title.

But that wasn't the biggest fight she's been through.

"I grew up in an out of foster homes, group homes," she said.

As a child then a teenager, Morton was moved from place to place through court-ordered programs.

"I take full responsibility for creating such a negative and self-destructive lifestyle," she said.

Her goal was to get as as far from Hawaii as she could.

After graduating from Leilehua High School in 2001 she bought a plane ticket to Florida, where her outlook on life shifted dramatically.

She calls it "divine intervention."

"I had dead-end jobs. Every day I would come to work happy and grateful and people thought I was crazy. They'd say, 'What is wrong with you? This is a dead end job.' I'd say, 'Life is great! This is awesome!'" she said.

Morton then moved to San Francisco, enrolled in college and worked with troubled teenagers as a crisis counselor.

She also found her way into a boxing gym.

"My very first experience with boxing I fell head over heels in love with the sport. It became an obsession," she said.

She fought as an amateur for seven years, coaching herself. Four years ago she turned pro, found a trainer, and battled her way up the flyweight ranks.

Now, she's a champion.

"This has been more than just getting a championship level or being number one. This is an internal healing process for myself," she said.

Morton dedicates every fight to local boy Kalae McShane, whose own boxing career was sidelined by an illness. She's inspired by his positive outlook.

Boxing is her full-time job. She has sponsors and oversees a stable of people as a personal trainer.

She's also in demand as a public speaker.

"I make it a point to focus on the emotions that I've battled. These emotions are universal. People from all walks of life can empathize with that," she said.

Morton, 34, believes she's in her best shape ever, both as a fighter and a human being.

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