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