WHAT I’VE LEARNT ABOUT FATHERHOOD

Former na­tional box­ing cham­pion Tony Mun­dine on teach­ing your kids to duck life’s hay­mak­ers

Men's Health (Australia) - - MH DAD - – In­ter­view by Daniel Wil­liams

My fa­ther was a great man. Had 11 kids. Grow­ing up, my floor was dirt, a lit­tle humpy place my dad built in an Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity called Baryulgil, not far from Grafton in far north­ern NSW. A lot of the men worked in the lo­cal as­bestos mine. My dad was a hard worker who brought me up the hard way, but we sur­vived. My dad didn’t see me as a boxer. I had a few fights at school, bareknuckle. But I didn’t re­alise I was go­ing to come up the lad­der so quick. I just kept knock­ing them out. I had 25 knock­outs straight.

I treat all my kids the same. I have three girls and three boys. “Choc” [former world box­ing cham­pion An­thony] is my se­cond boy. I set a good ex­am­ple for all of them. I never drank, smoked or gam­bled. I don’t swear. You’ve got to put them on the right track. The teenage years – that’s when things can go wrong. You have to keep them close. When he was lit­tle I used to drive An­thony through Kings Cross and show him things. I showed him the ones who were on drugs and the ones who were on al­co­hol. I said, “This is where you end up if you get on the stuff”. I told him, “What­ever you want to do, you’ve got to live a clean life”. And look where he is to­day. He wouldn’t have all the prop­erty he’s got if hadn’t lived clean. I was wor­ried when An­thony switched from rugby league to box­ing, be­cause in rugby league your guys will give you a hand. You can lie down if you get knocked in the guts or get the wind knocked out of you. You can put your hand up and say, “Bring your wa­ter bot­tle”. But in the ring, mate, you’re a lone ranger. But he had the gift. And you can’t knock him be­cause he’s had a great ca­reer. I’m An­thony’s trainer as well as his dad. See, I’ve been there and done it. I know the ropes and what you’ve got to do in train­ing. So I pass my knowl­edge on to him. He’s 43 but he’s not fin­ished. Forty-three is not old. I’m 67 and I’ll fight any­body in the ring. I can punch the bag for one hour. Non­stop. Hard. I did it last night. I’ve been do­ing it three times a week for the last 30 years. Your job as a fa­ther never stops. You want to put a smile on their faces and their kids’ faces. Be happy around them. They’re your blood. I see things that need do­ing in their houses and I do them. I’ll do any­thing. I painted Choc’s two-storey house in­side and out.

RING MASTER: MUN­DINE WITH LO­CAL KIDS, IN­CLUD­ING SON AN­THONY ON HIS RIGHT, IN THE MID-EIGHT­IES.

Tony Mun­dine will be in his son’s cor­ner when An­thony fights former wel­ter­weight world cham­pion Jeff Horn in Bris­bane on Novem­ber 30.

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