MOREE boxing trainer Danny Cheatham knows plenty of champions, but says boxing can earn athletes more than medals.Mr Cheatham’s latest prodigy is Cameron Hammond who competed at the London Olympics.
In 1992 he retired from boxing, where he had been an amateur and professional in the sport, after participating in his first fight when he was 10-years-old.
He boxed until he was 32, moving to Sydney to pursue his professional career, and when he retired he moved back to his hometown of Moree.
Mr Cheatham began coaching at the Moree PCYC and coached there for 17 years and three years ago they wanted to specialise in boxing, so formed the Moree Boxing Academy.
Champions he has coached include Australian heavyweight champion Tony Hall, welterweight champion and Commonwealth and London Olympics athlete Cameron Hammond, NSW champions including Brent McDonald and Keegan Fernando and South-East Queensland champions Jarom Haines and Jake Hetherington.
Cameron is now home in Moree after his bouts in London.
Along with assistant coach Chalkay Ross, Mr Cheatham said it wasn’t just athleticism they were increasing.
“It’s not only about competitive boxing, there’s a place there for everyone because not only does the training help them become boxers, but the discipline to do boxing can be transferred to all other areas of their life,” he said.
“I’m hoping the sport attracts kids who have lost their way a little because by instilling discipline, it will help them in other ways.
“If they can get out of bed and go for a road run in the morning, they can get up and go to school or work. If they can show respect in boxing, they can learn to respect authority such as teachers, employers and police.
“We find that that’s one of the
reasons the community supports us so well because they can see what we are doing with the youth of our community.”
Mr Cheatham said Moree’s athletes were naturally gifted.
“The town has a high indigenous population and the indigenous athletes are very, very gifted athletes,” Mr Cheatham said.
“With facilities like the Moree Boxing Academy, it gives them an environment to learn and grow in and show their potential. If they do show potential, we have the facility and the support from the local community to develop these athletes.
“Local business houses support us in sponsorship and come in droves to our tournaments to support us which gives us a bit of money so we have the means, experience and money to take them around the country, and even overseas, to develop them and give them the experience they need.”