Sedgefield boxer Bradley Saunders says moving to Marbella gave him the focus he needed after out-of-the-ring issues.
The 27-year-old fights Hungarian Gyorgy Mizsei in Gateshead on Friday - a late replacement for the injured Krzystof Szot, who withdrew this week.
"The key has been surrounding myself with good people and avoiding all the nonsense from before," said Saunders.
"Staying away from the clowns that were around me has made a huge difference and I feel I'm on track and a better person for it."
Before the 2009 controversy, the light welterweight fighter had also received criticism for comments he made while representing Team GB at the 2008 Olympics.
He told journalists that his second-round defeat was "a relief" after suffering homesickness in Beijing.
The 2007 World Amateur bronze medallist signed a professional deal with promoter Frank Warren in 2012 and has since won all seven of his fights.
"Frank has been massive for me and has been over to watch me train in Marbella and check everything is going well," Saunders told BBC Look North.
"I've grown up a lot and know what I want and that's been just getting my head down and train hard alongside people I trust.
"Everyone has a story, but I realise mine is probably second to none."