By JULIUS DENNIS
The Arrernte Community Boxing Academy is set to head to Darwin this Thursday for their first competitive fights of the year.
On the back of work to “help kids with getting off the streets,” Jason Lord of the ACBA says that “the competition aspect is what we are trying to get into”.
A former Territory state champion himself who has represented Australia in overseas tournaments, Jason understands that boxing can help kids “get on the road to a better life”.
And he’s already seen the improvements in the lives of some of the young men involved in the academy.
“We’ve had kids go from falling through the cracks to having apprenticeships and traineeships.”
The work of expanding the academy takes money, when the news spoke with Mr Lord on Sunday morning, the ACBA was in the midst of a fundraising campaign to fund some of the costs for the trip next weekend.
As pint-sized fighters showed off some menacing moves on the pads, the smell of barbecue wafted through the Coles carpark.
Shoppers forked out over $700 dollars for the academy. Mr Lord this will well and truly cover the petrol to Darwin and that it is “awesome to see local support.”
Outside of sausage sizzling, the boxing initiative has also received support from other local businesses over the past month or so.
Mr Lord says that he thinks the credibility that the ACBA is beginning to hold in the community means people think their money is being put to good use.
The ACBA is seeing over 100 individuals per week come to their daily workouts on Kent Road and works on the three pillars of “culture, care and control”.
On this trip, sub-junior fighters Nate Mason and brothers Ziggy and Kevin Tiltsen-Collins are set to enter the ring for the first time.
Another possible first time fighter is Kevin Collins, father of the young Tiltsen-Collins combo, who is awaiting news on whether he will have an opponent to fight on the night.
“This would be my first fight with them,” says Mr Collins while standing with his son Kevin, “he inspired me.”
Not fighting for the first time is 16 year-old Reese Curtis-Stanton, the current 17 and under Territory state champion of the welterweight division.
Mr Curtis-Stanton says that he was going to play football but once he started boxing at the academy it has become his sole sporting focus.
Also along for the trip will be the young but experienced Alex Lewis, a 13 year old fighting for the fifth time.
Both Mr Lord and Mr Curtis-Stanton say that there is little known about opponents in these types of fights before you arrive, but Mr Curtis-Stanton says that his tactics are usually to “feel them out in the first round” and then attack from there.
Recent history shows this has been a good tactic for the young boxer.