BOXING is a brutal and bloody sport, contested by people cut from tougher cloth than the general population.
Orange resident Gail Copping believes the ferocious nature of boxing opens the sport up to dangerous stereotypes.
“People think boxing is barbaric, when really it’s nowhere near as bad as people think,” she said.
Ms Copping said there was more to boxing than meets the eye.
She would know, having spent several years heavily involved in Mobsport Gym’s boxing program, which produced Orange’s national title contender Sam Ah-See.
Ah-See fights tonight for the Australian super-welterweight title at the Orange Function Centre, and Ms Copping said he is the personification of boxing’s positive attributes.
“People are beginning to see how successful boxing programs really are,” she said.
She said she was proud to see Ah-See’s career ascending.
“They teach kids to be respectful, and they are taught discipline along with how to be healthy.
“It gives them a place to go, and a place to train and learn.
“Mobsport did all those things, while I was there, for boys and girls, even though girls weren’t allowed to fight.
“In a way the boys are taught to be real men. It’s unfortunate it’s taken people so long to realise how good boxing is for youths.
“I watched Sam grow up. He’s always been such a beautiful kid. He had great support from Jake [Kenney, Mobsport founder], and his father, his friends and his whole family. They got him to where he is, and while most kids will never go that far, boxing gives them a chance.
“It’s a cheaper alternative to other sports. Mobsport used to be free, and especially in Orange Sam provides them with a role model.”
“To anyone who calls it a barbaric sport, I’d tell them to look at Sam’s career and what it would have done for youth in this town.
“Watch his fight and maybe rethink. Obviously it’s not for everyone, but there is more to it than people think.”
Ah-See takes on Shannon “Shaggy” King tonight at the Orange Function Centre. The main event is scheduled for between 9pm and 10pm, depending on the length of the undercard fights, beginning at 7pm. Doors open at 6.30pm.
More than 500 tickets were sold as of yesterday afternoon, with very few left on sale at Win Television, and Pump It Fitness.