NATURE'S GENTLEMAN: Gympie boxing trainer Neil Harmon kept a low profile generally, but is remembered throughout the boxing community.
NATURE'S GENTLEMAN: Gympie boxing trainer Neil Harmon kept a low profile generally, but is remembered throughout the boxing community. Facebook

Gympie boxers recall a great man, legend

NEIL Harmon never sought publicity, but yesterday his many admirers recalled the strength and wisdom they gained from a man who will always be remembered as a real Gympie boxing legend.

His daughter Natalie Harmon remembers a very fit man of 72 who died, apparently in his sleep last month.

"It was quite a shock.

"Neighbours just found him apparently asleep in his chair the next morning," she said.

"It was just awful," she said.

And that was a sentiment shared by many, especially in the region's close-knit boxing community.

"He was one of the kindest men. He just wanted to help people," said Danny Hawkins of the Savage Boxing Fitness Centre in Monkland St.

"He was training James Chan and used our gym. He trained me years ago and he had a lot to do with Mark Evans of Impact Boxing in Cooroy.

"I just knew him as a friendly bloke who would go right out of his way to help. And he loved his boxing.

"He was down at my gym only the week before," Mr Hawkins said.

"I can't think of anyone who didn't like him," he said. "I was happily retired," Gympie boxer James Chan said.

"And I found myself in a position where I could either take a second job or get a couple of fights and make some money.

"I saw Neil and I was back training with him for six weeks . It felt like six months, but in a good way.

"We'd both grown and changed and under his tutelage my skills really improved.

"Being older and wiser now, I can see a lot of things I missed before.

"But one thing I noticed was he was always helping people.

"He was very wise, even in the technical skills he taught me and they worked a treat in sparring. "I genuinely loved him. His passing was a great loss. "I'll be continuing my training down the Sunshine Coast with the people he introduced me to, Brendan Cotter and Darren Obah.

Another student Jamie Birrell, applied lessons from Mr Harmon's Karma Boxing Club to become Australian super heavyweight amateur champion.

Gympie Times


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