Port Macquarie Boxing Club

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The Port Macquarie Boxing Club is the training ground for many talented boxers – two of whom have their sights set on some big matches. Darm Phakphai and Jessica Messina have some impressive fights already under their belts … they tell us about their future goals, while club coach Dean Groth provides a little more background detail.

Dean Groth, coach at the Port Macquarie Boxing Club, introduces us to the club, and a couple of his very talented boxers, Darm Phakphai and Jessica Messina …

Darm is a very talented boxer. He has had 20 fights and won last year’s Australian Golden Gloves. He entered the NSW Titles, but lost a close fight in the semi finals. His performance in the championship brought him to the attention of the Australian Talent Identification Coach, and he was selected to represent Australia in Thailand, where he trained with and competed against the national teams of Thailand and Vietnam.

Darm has a bright future ahead, starting with the 2017 Golden Gloves.

What can I say about Jess! She has it all – very strong, determined and committed to success.

She is a world class athlete and has represented Australia on numerous occasions.

Recently she travelled to New Zealand, but her opponent pulled out of the fight at the last minute. She then flew 20 hours to Poland to join the Australian team and competed in the Felix Stamm tournament. In the semi final she fought the world number two from Germany and lost a close fight, but with this performance she won a bronze medal.

Later this year Jess will be competing in the state and national titles to qualify for the Commonwealth Games.

The Club

The Port Macquarie Boxing Club is a not for profit community club, run entirely by volunteers. We open three nights a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We have a committed and talented coaching group that has made this club very successful during the past 13 years.

We always struggle for funds and are always looking for support. Without support, we cannot afford to assist athletes like Darm and Jess to achieve their dreams.

The Port Macquarie-Hasting Council has always assisted us with community grants, without which we would struggle even more.

Darm

Hi Darm. How long have you been boxing?

I’ve started boxing since high school, so for four years now.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

I enjoy the whole training and fight nights the most about boxing, because both of them bring people together. It’s the excitement of the fight and training that I really look forward to.

What weight/division do you currently box in?

I currently fight at 64 kg.

What boxing achievements over the last twelve months are you most proud of?

Over the past 12 months I’ve won the Golden Gloves and made it to the semi finals at the NSW Titles on the 17th February. I also went overseas to Thailand on the 27th March.

What’s been your toughest match in recent times, and why was it so difficult?

My toughest fight would have to be the semi finals of the NSW Titles, because I wasn’t on my game point. I was back paddling the whole fight, which caused me to lose the fight.

What’s your current training regime?

At the moment I am training three times a week at the gym, and I train at home by myself on the days off. I’m currently working on improving my techniques and getting faster.

Who would you like to thank for their help with your boxing journey so far?

I’d like to thank everyone at the gym for the support, Felipe for the sparring, the coaches and my family for travelling with me to training and tournaments, and who have always supported me from the start.

Where/when are your next matches?

Brisbane, 25th – 28th of August would be my next big fight; I will be fighting in the Golden Gloves again.

What are your ultimate goals … and what support will you need to help you get there?

My goal right now is to win the Golden Gloves and see what goes from there. I need as many sponsors as I can get and need a one on one trainer!

Jess

Hi Jess. How long have you been boxing?

This year would be coming into my seventh year with boxing. I was first registered in 2010 and had my first fight in Dec 2012.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?
The bonds and family I have made. The people within boxing are some of the best people I have ever met in my life, and I am so grateful for the sport and the people I have met through it.

What weight/division do you currently box in?

I’m currently competing in the female welter weight (64 – 69 kg) division.

What boxing achievements over the last twelve months are you most proud of?

March 2016 I competed at the female world championship selection event in Perth, where I fought and beat both the then 69 kg Australian champion, and another great boxer and gained a spot on the Australian team to fight in the Women’s World Championships in May 2016. There, I won my fight first against Croatia, made it to the top 16, and lost to the Russian, who at that time was ranked one in the world.

I have just returned from Poland, where I competed in the multinational Felix Stam AIBA tournament. I received bronze after losing a tough decision in the semi final to the German (current silver world medallist) who went on to win gold at this tournament.

What’s been your toughest match in recent times, and why was it so difficult?

For me, it doesn’t come down to my opponents; I am the only one who can make it difficult or easy. I am my toughest match. It is the little battles within myself I must win, with nerves and belief before I step in between those ropes, and when that’s done – no one in the world can beat me!

What’s your current training regime?

I train six days a week, with Sunday being rest day. On a typical week, training goes a little like this:
Boxing specific – Mon/Wed/Fri nights.
Strength and conditioning – Tues/Thurs/Sat mornings
And road work (running – different speeds and distances) most days on alternating morning/night.

Who would you like to thank for their help with your boxing journey so far?

Everyone at Port Macquarie Boxing Club. Specially the trainers – Kev, Dean, Ray, Paul and Rich. This place is a not for profit gym, and these amazing men give up their time and own money so I (and the many other members) can pursue their dreams. I couldn’t do what I do without them!

I’d also like to thank my Physiotherapist Mitchel Lenkic, for keeping me healthy. And all the people who have believed in me, and helped in my journey.

Also for when it gets hard, my mum and partner, for always encouraging me to keep going.

Where/when are your next matches?

I’m looking towards the pathway events for Commonwealth Games 2018, which I believe start with the State Titles later this year.

What are your ultimate goals … and what support will you need to help you get there?

Long term goals are to win gold at the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and World Championships! And I won’t stop ‘til I get there!

Thanks everyone.

Interviews by Jo Robinson.

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