WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE ‘GREATEST EVER’
I’m keen to get back in the ring, especially after my last fight was over pretty quickly.
It was risky to fight Anthony Mundine. If he was to have beaten me it would have hurt my legacy in boxing, even though he’s the ‘greatest ever’, as he’d say.
For all the talk, he is an extraordinary athlete and you have to give him props. He’s done well in boxing but I had it over him. I had that youth and that power to take him on and I was confident I could beat him. Looking back now I’m glad I took that fight, especially finishing it as quickly as I did.
It was interesting seeing the Mundine show upclose. He’s definitely someone who can sell a fight. Mundine is a guy who can push people’s buttons and knows what to do and to say to get people to watch him.
He’s always been able to do that and good on him for that and I guess he’s done well for himself and his family that way. He’s made a big name for himself in Australian sport and Australian boxing.
Some things he does are distasteful but the majority of that is for the cameras. If you knew what he was like away from the cameras… He’s a decent guy but as soon as the cameras are on him there is a different persona.
Could I be like him? I could definitely do more. I could act and be someone different, although I think people would probably see right through me because I’m not that great an actor. There’s definitely money to be made that way. Unfortunately, that’s a little bit the way Australian culture is, sometimes people like to watch someone get beaten rather than watch them win.
His whole career, Mundine worked it where he didn’t care what people thought of him and he quickly got the villain role – he was a big talker and a big noter and he was fine with that in making money.
I know in myself I’m not good at that. I thought I’ll just do my talking in the ring and let my actions speak for myself and hopefully that can pave the way and I can get a world title my way and that’s what I managed to do.
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST BULLYING
Missing out on this fight will give me a chance to work on a new initiative that’s close to my heart.
I set up the anti-bullying program AMAYDA (Australian Martial Arts Youth Development Alliance) with my trainer Glenn Rushton and Frank Mechler and I’ll work on that while I’ve got a break, going to schools and spreading that message.
We get ambassadors and youth mentors in schools to teach kids how to protect themselves, according to what we believe. It’s pretty much what Glenn put me through when I very first started, learning self-defence and how to protect yourself in an awkward situation.
It’s about teaching kids self-discipline, self-defence techniques they can use to negotiate out of bad situations. It’s a great program that’s started well and hopefully it gets bigger and bigger and we see less bullying in schools and in workplaces.
It’s started up in schools in Brisbane and we’re looking at potential expansion in the future. Because it’s not specific and is martial arts in general, it can hook up with any martial arts experts, whatever their strength. All have the basics of respect, discipline, courage and integrity that you can teach to kids and get them more confident in themselves and help them protect themselves from bullies.
There are 20 or so schools on board with at least 10 kids in the program at each school – some have 20-30 – and they’re loving it, really enjoying the programs and getting a lot out of it.
I’m looking forward to going to visit one of my mates who is a mentor of a class and see the kids. I’m sure they’ll be excited about that.
I struggled with bullying a little in grade 8, 9 and 10 in high school. I didn’t suffer really bad bullying but I definitely got into a couple of fights because of it. That’s why I decided to go to self-defence classes and that’s where I met Glenn and where this all began. It’s made me a way more confident person and helped me talk in front of crowds. If kids can get a little bit of that, some extra confidence from learning martial arts, they’ll be better people for it.