Box­ing academy for Creek

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Latu Talu wants to make Billy proud.

The Porirua 24-year-old will be a proud man when he swings open the doors of the Can­nons Creek Box­ing Academy for the first time later this month.

The academy is the first cab off the rank in the am­bi­tious ex­pan­sion plans of box­ing coach, mo­ti­va­tional speaker and au­thor Billy Gra­ham.

Gra­ham opened a box­ing academy in Nae­nae in 2006 and it has helped curb tag­ging and crime rates in the area.

The club caters for 11 to 18-year-olds, and rules in­clude shak­ing hands when you en­ter and no bul­ly­ing, hats or swear­ing.

Gra­ham has re­ceived back­ing from the Tin­dall Foun­da­tion, Voda­fone and po­lice com­mis­sioner Mike Bush for the Can­nons Creek ex­pan­sion.

The gym will be above the Free­dom Church in Bed­ford St and has been leased for three years.

Talu, who went to Rus­sell School and Porirua Col­lege, has been with Gra­ham in Nae­nae since day one eight years ago, and is ner­vous and ex­cited about run­ning the academy in his home town.

‘‘I don’t want to let any­one down and will just do the best I can,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a huge op­por­tu­nity for me.’’ He said box­ing fo­cused a lot of anger he had as a teenager and he be­came dis­ci­plined and learnt re­spect, con­sid­er­a­tion and com­pas­sion for oth­ers.

Pupils from Porirua in­ter­medi- ate schools are be­ing in­ter­viewed for the academy and about 20 will be in the first in­take.

Latu and Gra­ham said they were real­is­tic enough to ex­pect some of the early pupils to drop out be­cause they might not take to the strict rules.

Framed pho­tos will adorn the walls and there will be a ring, box­ing bags and equip­ment for train­ing.

A trust has been set up to or­gan­ise the academy’s funds and grants ap­pli­ca­tions.

Talu will have a sup­port staff of three as­sis­tant coaches and a sup­port per­son to field in­quiries.

Kapiti Mana Po­lice area com­man­der In­spec­tor Paul Basham said the po­lice were fully sup­port­ive of the academy.

‘‘We’re de­lighted that Billy and his team are com­ing into Can­nons Creek,’’ he said.

‘‘ He has the ded­i­ca­tion and drive to do good things that turn young boys into great men and his re­sults in Nae­nae have been recog­nised at a na­tional level.’’

Gra­ham said Talu, a na­tion­ally ranked boxer, had a ‘‘fol­low me’’ style and would lead by ex­am­ple.

‘‘He’s a men­tor for so many of the kids here [ in Nae­nae]. If they’re step­ping out of line he gives them a look and a quiet word and that’s it.

‘‘But he makes the train­ing and the box­ing a lot of fun.

‘‘He’s pas­sion­ate and he cares and that’s why I know he’ll be suc­cess­ful.’’

Photo: FAIR­FAX

New be­gin­ning: Billy Gra­ham with his star pupil, Latu Talu, who will over­see the Can­nons Creek Box­ing Academy.

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