Mick Daly at Daly's Gym, Moura Street, Gladstone.
Mick Daly at Daly's Gym, Moura Street, Gladstone. Tom Huntley

Respect is the name of the game in Daly's boxing ring

MICK Daly is an honest bloke, upfront and easy going, driven by respect.

When he sees a problem, he will acknowledge it, make it plain to see, and then go about finding a solution.

A no-nonsense boxing coach, he gets straight into his work with no time to waste and expects the best effort from everyone around him.

Last year was the first time in 18 years Daly had not coached a Queensland title winner. He feels he let his fighters down.

"I let them down by not being here and they let themselves down by not training hard enough."

Not letting his fighters down by coaching them incorrectly. Not by overworking them, nor babying them through the motions.

Daly feels like he let them down by accepting the position of Australian assistant coach to go to the World Championships in Kazakhstan.

It is plain for everyone to see that Daly was doing what every reasonable bloke would do in venturing into the peaks of his sport.

As such, the fighters do not blame their coach.

In fact, the fighters have had a look at themselves, taken responsibility and are looking to resurrect their hopes of higher achievement in the coming months, years and possibly decades adding to the legacy of Daly's renowned gym.

Speaking of legacy, it was back in 1996 when Mick Daly opened the Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club, convinced to do so after much persistence and hassle from his first Queensland winner Angelo Clements, to help him become a champion, despite Daly's only modest fighting record.

"I had done boxing and he asked me to train him, but I wasn't interested," Daly said.

Finally broken down by the persistence of Clements, Daly started off with limited resources out of Brothers Rugby League clubhouse.

It was 2002 when the gym moved to Moura St, the club already owning several state and national titles, the building erected with a lot of assistance from the council and community.

Liam Nicolson training at Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club.
Liam Nicolson training at Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club.

Very grateful for the help he received back in the early years, it almost seemed like fate to Daly that everything was turning out.

Unsure of exactly how to train the fighters under him, Daly did his utmost with what he knew, and learnt more when drafted into an Australian outfit on the back of the success of one the best fighters the gym has seen.

"Ben McEachran got my name on the board and the rest is history," Daly said.

"I learnt by working with the Australian coaches. Simple as that."

Daly was then lucky enough to represent Australia as part of the coaching team from the early 2000s onwards, right up until the experience in Kazakhstan last October, which despite his disappointment, has been a blessing in disguise for the Gladstone gym.

Returning with a lot of new training ideas and coaching techniques, Daly can now move forward with his fighters, who still have a shot at the Commonwealth Games.

"This is the first time in the club's history we have not had a Queensland champion.

I can only see us getting bigger and better. We have a new crop coming through. We are very talented and I think there is a big future for the club in the town.

"Hopefully this year Rhys Evans, Liam Nicolson and Marty Lewis could be Commonwealth Games representatives," Daly said.

"We have gone from three sessions a week to 11. If that doesn't help, nothing will."

Knowing how to get a fighter across the line when it comes to the crunch, Daly has shown time and again his students will stand up and progress.

Names are littered across the walls of honour at his gym, and the coach has two Olympians and one Commonwealth Games representative on his resume.

He wants more.

"The time that really stands out is when Ben McEachran won his first Australian Title as heavyweight in 2000. He rang me to tell me he won," Daly said.

"Daniel Beahan when he made the Olympics too, and Billy Ward."

Wanting that feeling once again, Daly will chase the dream with his three fighters (Evans, Nicolson and Lewis) in Perth in the coming months.

Although not state champions, the trio represent the Queensland B team in pursuit of glory at the Australian Titles.

DEDICATED: Training at Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club. The club has gone from three sessions a week to 11.
DEDICATED: Training at Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club. The club has gone from three sessions a week to 11.

Looking at the titles, and beyond, Daly thinks nothing is going to stop the club reaching supreme levels, improving on an amazing record which already boasts more than 60 state and 30 national crowns.

"I can only see us getting bigger and better. We have a new crop coming through," he said. "We are very talented and I think there is a big future for the club in the town.

"I have a good assistant coach who has had more than 100 fights. And good coaches doing the fitness group."

The assistance Daly is getting will become more and more important as time wears on, with a second child on the way to increase the size of his family.

One day Daly hopes to have a role where he can step in and help wherever he feels like he can, watching from the bleachers and admiring a crafty system he began way back before the turn of the millennium.

It is hard to believe, with the work ethic Daly possesses, that he will ever just watch.

More likely he will always be in the thick of the action, teaching his boxers about the sport, and even a thing or two about life.

"When you get a kid who is in trouble and people tell you he has improved and is going well, that is a good feeling," Daly said.

"It is not just boxing, it is all about respect."

The word respect resonates, not only through the gym on Moura St, but through every word uttered by Daly, loudly chanting instructions, or quietly praising his boxers.

It also reminds of the words: "I let them down by not being here".

It is purely out of respect for his fighters Daly feels like this. While he was chasing another dream, he could not be in two places at once.

Daly respects his fighters for stepping into a cauldron of hurt, taking on the level of commitment it takes to box, and most of all, for being respectful to all around them.

The Gladstone Amateur Boxing Club is built on the principle of respect. It, above all, is what drives Mick Daly.



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