Troubled Bush Kids Punching goals in Brisbane

Mar 28, 2023

Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter is backing a program sending young, troubled Indigenous boxers from Mount Isa to a City vs Bush tournament in Brisbane as a meaningful circuit-breaker against spiralling youth crime.

Derricks Boxing in Mount Isa, which took troubled youths off the streets and gave them purpose and life skills through boxing, has joined other Western and Central Queensland boxers this week at a training camp at Brisbane’s Fortitude Boxing, founded by top trainer Steve Deller who sought state funding to create the program.

It’s aimed at helping expose young boxers to the city and adjust to life away from home, where they underwent fitness and technique training and receive advice and support on nutrition, mental health, and opportunities on the rough road to success for rural communities that were often overlooked or “too hard to help”.

“It’s programs like these that complement the efforts we in the KAP are making to introduce relocation sentencing as a circuit-breaker to get recidivist youths off the streets and given a meaningful purpose to stop the likelihood of reoffending,” Mr Katter said.

“James Derrick from Derricks Boxing plays a major role in creating pathways out of the youth crime crisis through his dedication and passion in training troubled young people in not only physical strength but work ethic and life skills, with little financial support himself.”

Mr Derrick said his core teaching was that hard work did pay off and that it was better to be disciplined than lazy.

“The cost of crime is a major problem, and the best way to get kids off the street is to give them purpose. I think it’s important to open my doors to lead the community to health, fitness and great life skills,” he said.

He added that connecting with a metropolitan boxing organisation had made a significant impact on the young Mount Isa boxers’ motivation and commitment.

“Due to the lesser opportunities in Mount Isa and the cost of travel, Fortitude Boxing has given the boys the opportunity to train and to travel down to Brisbane … (which) has helped the boxers not only physically but also mentally by making them be in a clear mindset; since the opportunity came up, the boys have been training extra hard and are determined to participate in these activities,” he said.

“We are beyond grateful for these opportunities that we don’t often get being in a rural town. Some of the boys have never been to Brisbane so watching the smile on these kids’ faces means so much to me – I’m so grateful for the opportunity Fortitude Boxing has given us.”

Mr Derrick’s dream was to claim gold at the Brisbane Olympics, a feat he said mirrored the hardship of life in the bush.

“It’s like the bush – it’s tough, it’s unforgiving, but the reward of just trying is the reward.”