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19 February, 2021

Hooking into boxing

Local legend Kevin Mayo says boxing saved his life when he was young. Now the retired 69-year-old is using his spare time to help other young people develop fitness and life skills through the sport.

By Tanya Murphy

The lifelong boxing enthusiast, youth worker and musician started the not-for-profit Marlin Coast Boxing Club in 2015 as a way to “give back to the community.”

“Boxing makes you a better person, gives you confidence and discipline, a better mentality to life, and reduces attitude problems,” said Mr Mayo.

“It gives kids strength and heart about their capabilities and sticking up for themselves, but also teaches them that if people pick on you, you don’t need to fight, you can walk away proudly.”

Mr Mayo previously worked for the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardians, and decided to volunteer his skills towards a good cause after retiring in 2007.

“My son was a professional world champion and my other son was a fighter too,” he said.

“Over the years I’ve had my own gyms, but it was a dream to start a not-for-profit to give back to the community.

“It’s about giving back to the kids, helping them keep the off the street, motivating them into jobs, into university and guiding them into the right mindset. Boxing is only the tool to engage them.

Mitchell Ezzy (15) and Hayden May (12)

“We get cranky ones that come in, and when they start training, they settle down and start helping each other in the gym, and when they leave they’re not cranky anymore and they’ve got new friends.”

Mr Mayo said the club’s members included all ages and backgrounds including a large number of girls and women.

The club holds ninja gym classes for zero-to-five-year-olds, as well as modified low-impact fitness classes for older people, and advanced and technical training for boxers at competitive levels.

All the gym’s trainers are volunteers, and more trainers are sought. Volunteers must have, or obtain, a blue card to work with children.

Kerrie Wilson said she decided to volunteer as a trainer after seeing what a positive influence Mr Mayo was on local youth.

“I believe in what he’s doing and I’m so privileged to be a part of it,” she said.

The club had to close down last year due to COVID-19 regulations, and will celebrate its official 2021 reopening this Saturday February 20, with a family fun day from 10am.

The day’s festivities will include with a pig on a spit, boxing demonstrations, sparring, live music from ‘Wind and Wood,’ and a jumping castle.

Mitchell Ezzy (15) and Hayden May (12)

Mr Mayo himself, who is also an accomplished musician, will be performing some classics, with his specialties being country music and Neil Diamond.

The cost to attend is a $5 donation and children under five are free.

The boxing club is hidden behind trees at Lot 2, Marshall Street, Machan’s Beach, with a sign and parking on the right just after the sports oval and before the bridge to Redden Island.

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