By Abdul Basit Issaka
A Midland boxing club is running a free training program to promote better discipline among young people in Perth’s eastern suburbs.
Wally Bates Memorial Boxing club is currently training about 100 young people in various boxing techniques at the Swan Park Leisure Centre to instil self-control and confidence in them.
The Boxing Club is a not-for-profit organisation established in memory of Wally Bates, an Aboriginal boxing hero of Midland, to train amateur boxers and to keep young people away from trouble on the streets.
Gerrard Ashton, a trainer at the club, said discipline is all about respect, confidence and self-belief.
Mr Ashton, who is also helping to manage the program, said since they started the 30 years ago, he has seen many of the participants grow into responsible adults.
“Some parents have the idea that boxing clubs are some sort of extreme boot camp to toughen people up to brutality,” he said.
“That’s a misperception – our boxing program is about being part of something that is constructive.”
He said the program is not about forcing every member to conform to a particular training regime.
Mr Ashton said they train in a friendly environment with lots of fun.
A member of the club, Nicholas Watkins, who’s 35, said the club is not about fitness alone.
He said it is about being part of a supportive and multicultural community where people care about each other.
Watkins, who is the longest serving member of the club, said he joined the club 16 years ago and it has been a good influence on his life.
“Fitness is the big one, and it helps in leadership,” he said.
He said the program has contributed a lot to his promotion as a site manager of the Linfox Transport Company.
The Wally Bates boxing program began 28 years ago and more than one thousand kids are said to have benefited from the program.