Moree boxing identity Danny Cheetham will pull on the boxing gloves once again, coming out of retirement to coach today’s youth to be future champions.
Four years since he retired from coaching, the president of Moree Boxing Academy has chosen to step back into the ring again in an effort to help the youth of Moree and reboost participation in competition boxing.
“The reason I’m starting back is I think now, more than ever, the youth of our town need help staying away from all the other distractions that are out there for them,” he said.
“Troublesome youth seem to be attracted to the sport of boxing; for years the sport of boxing has helped thousands of kids turn their life around and get it back on track.
“They can let out their frustration and even though it’s an individual sport, they learn to be part of a team environment and be part of something bigger than themselves.”
Cheetham sees being a coach as much more than just teaching a sport.
He said it’s about being a life mentor and that the discipline required for boxing can be transferred to all other areas of people’s lives.
“If they can develop the discipline to get out of bed and go for a run, they can get out of bed and go to work,” he said.
“If they can show respect to their coaches, they can show respect to their parents and teachers and police officers.
“I believe there’s a lot of similarities in boxing that can be applied to life – you’ve got to roll with the punches; if you get knocked down, get back up and dust yourself off.”
Cheetham had his first bout as a 10-year-old and continued to box until 1992, aged 32, when he retired and moved back to his hometown of Moree.
In Moree he began coaching at the PCYC where he remained for 17 years before establishing the Moree Boxing Academy in 2009.
“It’s part of my life,” Cheetham said.
“I know what it’s like to do it tough as a kid.
“It’s been able to help me and I’ve seen it help other kids over the years.”
Throughout his long coaching career, Cheetham has coached some talented boxers, including Moree’s own Cameron Hammond who represented Australia in the 2012 Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
“Today I walk around and see these kids doing apprenticeships and holding down great jobs and I think we can do it again,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a very long amateur and professional boxing career and was asked to coach for the Australian Institute of Sport.
“I feel privileged to be able to pass that knowledge onto the youth of our community.”
While junior boxing and women’s boxing for fitness remain popular at Moree Boxing Academy, Cheetham said competitive boxing has died down a bit since he retired from coaching, so he’s hoping by returning he can “breathe some life back into the sport”.
He has plans to bring back the tournaments that used to be held in Moree once or twice a year, which would see hundreds of people pack into Town Hall to enjoy a two-course meal while watching the fights.
“The townspeople love tournaments,” he said.
“They’re our biggest fundraiser. It helps buy new equipment and it pays for trips away for boxing tournaments.”
Cheetham returns to coaching this week and encourages anyone, boys and girls, aged over 13 who are interested in boxing to come along to Moree Boxing Academy on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5.15pm.
Cost is just $2 a class.
“The classes are for 13 years and over but if there’s a kid out there who’s under 12 and is dead set on boxing, I wouldn’t turn him away,” Cheetham said.
“They can only box in NSW at the age of 14 but we can go to Queensland where anyone over 10 can box.”