HORN’S FLY­WEIGHTS Brissie boxer help­ing kids build con­fi­dence and self-es­teem

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - GRANTLEE KIEZA @kieza­_c­mail

BRISBANE school­teacher Jeff Horn faces the tough­est strug­gle of his life on Satur­day but for the last few months he’s been fight­ing just as hard for kids in Lo­gan.

Michael Ogier, the deputy prin­ci­pal of Spring­wood State High, says Horn’s work with stu­dents from the school has been “one of the most in­spi­ra­tional things’’ he has seen in 25 years as an ed­u­ca­tor.

Horn, a Lon­don Olympian ranked No.7 in the world as a pro­fes­sional, faces the Euro­pean wel­ter­weight champ Ahmed El Mousaoui in Hamil­ton, New Zealand this week in the big­gest fight of his ca­reer, but he’s been just as fo­cused on chang­ing the lives of the kids he men­tors.

He and his mate Dundee Kim, a box­ing trainer and for­mer South Korean cham­pion, have been run­ning a train­ing pro­gram us­ing box­ing ex­er­cises to im­prove the co­or­di­na­tion and con­cen­tra­tion of school stu­dents.

“Some of the kids we worked with had ac­tu­ally been in my own classes when I was work­ing as a re­lief teacher and there had been be­havioural prob­lems be­cause of their poor con­cen­tra­tion,’’ said Horn, 27.

“It’s fan­tas­tic to see how well the kids have re­sponded to learn­ing new skills through box­ing train­ing. There’s no spar­ring or fight­ing but we teach them proper tech­nique, foot­work and fit­ness drills and they love it. Par­ents know their kids aren’t go­ing to get hit or hurt but the box­ing train­ing promotes good health and hard work and that is re­flected back in their stud­ies at school.

“I know how ef­fec­tive box­ing train­ing can be for im­prov­ing self-dis­ci­pline. Dundee de­vised the train­ing pro­gram and we took it to IN THE RIGHT COR­NER: Boxer Jeff Horn with Spring­wood High stu­dents Casey Wa­ters and Caitlin Fair­bank, who have taken on his train­ing pro­gram at Dundee Kim’s gym at West End. The school’s deputy prin­ci­pal is de­lighted with the re­sults of the pro­gram. Pic­ture: Jono Searle Spring­wood and it’s worked really well.

“We hope to take it to other schools be­cause it’s been so suc­cess­ful. Some of the kids want to be­come per­sonal train­ers when they leave school and what we teach them can be used for their later ca­reers.’’

Ogier, who has been at Spring­wood High for five years, said the school had been tri­alling the pro­gram for three months and was de­lighted with the re­sults.

“Dundee and Jeff have been work­ing each week with small groups of stu­dents – six to eight – some­times at the school and some­times at Dundee’s Gym in West End.

“The re­sults have been amaz­ing. The change in out­look, con­fi­dence, com­mit­ment and dis­po­si­tion of the stu­dents in­volved has been won­der­ful.

“To think that Jeff is one of the world’s top fight­ers – in the mix to fight the likes of Floyd May­weather and Manny Pac­quiao – and yet here he is vol­un­teer­ing his time to help kids ev­ery week.

“The work that he and Dundee do build­ing the self­es­teem of the kids is some­thing that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.’’

While Horn will not let any of the school kids punch each other, he will be hit­ting El Mousaoui as hard as he can on Satur­day at the Claude­lands Arena in Hamil­ton in a fight that will be tele­vised in Aus­tralia on Fox Sports.

At 182cm, the 25-year-old French­man is big­ger, younger and more ex­pe­ri­enced than the Brisbane wel­ter­weight.

El Mousaoui has a 7cm height ad­van­tage and with 22 wins and a draw in 24 pro fights, has nearly dou­ble the ex­pe­ri­ence of Horn, who is un­beaten in 13 pro bouts.

In his last fight, in April, El Mousaoui out­pointed for­mer world champ Ju­nior Wit­ter, from Eng­land. His only loss was a dis­puted points de­ci­sion four years ago.

“El Mousaoui is fast, very re­laxed, very cool, an ex­cel­lent boxer,’’ Horn said. “It’s go­ing to be a very tough fight but I don’t want easy ones.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.